Nursing home pays out $1.8 million in ant attack death

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One of the largest nursing home chains in the country agreed to pay $1.8 million to the family of a bedridden resident who died after hundreds of ants bit him in a Florida nursing home.

Earl Dean Griffith, 73, was recuperating from surgery at the Atlantic Shores nursing home when fire ants overtook his bed in the early hours of July 26, 2001. He died 40 hours later from shock and the amount of ant poison in his system, the medical examiner found. 

Mariner Health Care, which is based in Georgia, settled the lawsuit with Griffith's widow and children a week before it was scheduled to go to trial.

It was the second time in recent years that a Florida nursing home patient has died from fire ant bites. In a case in 2000, another home paid an undisclosed amount to the family of an 87-year-old woman who was attacked.

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