Family Sues in Frozen Patient Case

Family of Genevieve Klimczak suing for substantial amount to help make sure another family doesn't have a similar experience

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Genevieve Klimczak went out an exit door near her room at the McHenry Villa retirement community last February and couldn't get back in. Natalie Martinez reports. (Published Wednesday, Feb 6, 2013)

    A wrongful death suit was filed Wednesday on behalf of a woman who died a year ago after she wandered out of her nursing home and froze to death.

    Genevieve Klimczak, who was living with Alzheimer's disease, was a resident of the McHenry Villa retirement community. Last February, she went out an exit door near her room and couldn't get back in.

    "She was allowed to leave her room and exit out of a one-way, self-locking door and was not discovered for something like 12 hours later where she was frozen to death on the sidewalk. And it had gotten as cold as seven degrees," said attorney Ian Alexander.

    The suit alleges the facility didn't have an alarm or security cameras and accuses the center and the caregiver provider of not sticking to its promise of 24-hour security.

    Klimczak, a Polish immigrant, never had children of her own with her late husband. Her three nieces and nephews said they treated her like their own mother.

    "She really loved playing with my children and my sister's children, and in turn she was at every single family event that happened in my life," said Klimczak's nephew, Don Lorenz.

    Lorenz on Wednesday recalled celebrating his aunt's 91st birthday at the center and said it was their last happy time all together.

    "We just never thought, in a million years, that it would end in this way," he said.

    An attempt to reach McHenry Villa management for comment was unsuccessful.