A jury has awarded the family of a deceased nursing home resident $5.5 million after her oxygen machine stopped working due to a power outage.

Providence Operations LLC lost in court to the family of Bettye Patterson, which filed against the provider for negligence and wrongful death. The $5.5. million is the largest verdict against a nursing home in Illinois. 

Patterson entered Providence Palos Heights and Rest Haven Illiana Christian Convalescent Home in the Chicago suburbs in 2016. The 80-year-old woman was suffering from “various medical conditions,” and doctors estimated at the time that she had a life expectancy of three to six months. She was receiving supplemental oxygen through a nasal cannula 24/7, per a release issued by the family’s attorneys. 

During a visit on Oct. 16, 2016, Patterson’s daughters noticed the power in her mother’s room was out and Patterson was not receiving the supplemental oxygen. The release claimed that the daughters were unable to locate any trained nursing staff. 

“After struggling to breathe for twenty minutes without supplemental oxygen, [Patterson] passed away,” the release stated. “Medical experts, Robert Schoene, MD, and Sabine von Preyss-Freidman, MD, said the last 20 minutes of Bettye’s life were agonizingly painful, and physiologically the experience would be equivalent to drowning.”

Palos Heights is no longer in operation. Parent company Providence Operations did not return a call from McKnight’s Long-Term Care News on Friday.

Information posted on Healthcare Compare that was last updated in 2019 indicates that the facility had 155 residents and 193 certified beds. The nursing home had a 5-star rating.