Massachusetts Nursing Home Leaders Are First to Face Criminal Charges Related to Coronavirus Deaths
Holyoke Soldiers’ Home in Massachusetts is home to 76 patients who died due to coronavirus outbreak that began in March and led to 160 residents and staff members found to be positive for COVID-19. According to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, two leaders of the veterans’ home have now been criminally charged for those related deaths. Healey said the nursing home officials are believed to be the first in the country to face criminal charges in connection with the pandemic.
According to McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, “A grand jury indicted former Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Superintendent Bennett Walsh, 50, and former Medical Director Dr. David Clinton, 71, based on their decision to merge two dementia care units, combining COVID-19 positive residents with others who were asymptomatic.”
An independent government report released three months ago claimed that Walsh was not qualified to operate a long-term care facility and alleged that “substantial errors and failures” led to the deaths.
- The consolidation of the two dementia units pushed more than 40 veterans into a space designed for only 25 under normal circumstances.
- Common practice has been to isolate residents who have tested or displayed signs of the coronavirus.
Operators of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home were also hit with a proposed class-action lawsuit in mid-July, seeking more than $175 million in damages. The Department of Justice is also investigating the Holyoke events. The accused are charged with causing or permitting serious bodily injury or neglect of an elder.
U.S. Nursing Home Residents Deserve Better
Facilities all across the country continue to fail both residents and staff when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s not surprising to long-term care advocates and nursing home abuse and neglect legal leaders that facilities such as Holyoke will face similar legal claims for infectious disease-related shortcomings, preventable illnesses and deaths, and COVID-19 outbreaks among workers, which lead to exhausted and understaffed care teams and resident neglect.
Before this crisis began, the nationally renowned nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti were working to protect nursing home residents and employees from harm related to poor-performing facilities that continue to fail to meet quality of life care standards by choosing to:
- Understaff and underpay its workforce
- Fail to provide healthcare workers the tools to perform their jobs safely such as personal protection equipment, and the training and skills required to prevent the spread of infectious diseases
- Ignore hygiene and infectious disease guidelines
In Illinois, facilities have put thousands of individuals under considerable risk of injury, sickness, and COVID-related deaths, especially in the greater Chicago-area, where cases have nearly tripled since March.
Chicago Attorneys for Nursing Home Residents
If you suspect mistreatment of a nursing home resident as the cause of their illness or untimely death, please contact Levin & Perconti, one of the nation’s most recognized and respected leaders in the areas of elder abuse and nursing home negligence litigation. Please, call us now for a FREE consultation at 312-332-2872 in Chicago, or toll-free at 1-877-374-1417.