Family of deceased resident awarded $5 million

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A jury has awarded $5 million to the family of a Michigan senior living resident with dementia who died after ingesting dishwashing detergent, the Oakland Press reports. The family's attorney believes the verdict is one of the largest against an assisted living community in state history.

Willie Mae Henderson was 90 and had lived at The Fountains at Franklin of Watermark Retirement Communities, in Southfield, MI, for five weeks when the incident occurred in 2012. Accessing and drinking the detergent resulted in severe burns to her mouth, esophagus, throat and stomach, according to the media outlet, quoting the family's attorney. She died 13 days later.

In court documents, Watermark denied the family's contentions that the community was understaffed and inappropriately supervised and that the detergent had been inadequately secured. The community offers independent living, assisted living and memory care.

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