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Nursing Home Death Results in Criminal Charges

nursing home death results in criminal chargesThe death of a former Trump administration official’s father in a Philadelphia nursing home has resulted in criminal charges being filed against the licensed practical nurse who was responsible for his care. 30-year old Christann Gainey faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, neglect, and falsifying documents as a result of her actions during her April 13th shift at Cathedral Village; a Roxborough-area senior living facility. If convicted of all counts, she faces up to 20 years in prison.

According to the complaint filed with the court, retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Herbert R. McMaster, father of former Trump national security advisor General H. R. McMaster, was known to be a fall risk and was in the facility specifically for rehabilitation following a stroke. When he was found at 11:30 p.m. on April 12th, records indicate that he had apparently fallen and had been injured. Open wounds were found on his right temple and right shoulder. He would be dead by the next morning.

According to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Gainey’s actions following McMaster’s discovery were intentional and criminal. “She did not perform one – not one – neurological check on Mr. McMaster, and even lied on the paperwork that she did,” he said. “The evidence shows that Gainey intentionally, knowingly, and recklessly caused serious bodily injury to Mr. McMaster by failing to provide treatment or care.”

Surveillance video of the facility supports his accusations. While a neurological flow sheet is on file for Mr. McMaster, video appears to show that Gainey never actually conducted the evaluation as required by facility policy. And, even when faced with a senior citizen with a stroke history who had just fallen and sustained a head wound, the nurse assistant on duty that night says that no one was monitoring McMaster’s vital signs or conducting any further testing to ensure his safety.

When the assistant director of nursing arrived to work at 7:45 that morning, she says she reviewed an evaluation sheet on Mr. McMaster for a check that had been conducted at 7:20 a.m. This is problematic because that would have been long after he had been found dead in his room. When she asked Gainey about the discrepancy, she told police that the response was that Gainey said that she “falsified that one,” because she “didn’t want the next nurse to have to do them.”

No matter our place in society; whether we depend on the goodness of others to try to get by or we share space with those who sit at the highest levels of government, we must be able to rest well in the knowledge that our elders are well-cared for. Yet far too often, these most vulnerable among us are neglected at best – and in some cases can suffer a fate much, much worse.