A Philadelphia nurse has pled guilty to a misdemeanor of neglect in relation to the death of Herbert R. McMaster Sr. at a Philadelphia area nursing home. This case is a sad reminder about the reality of nursing home neglect that plagues our country. It also brings up important questions about who is truly responsible for nursing home neglect.
Mr. McMaster had been admitted to Cathedral Village for rehabilitation following a stroke. During his 4-day stay, he had already suffered four falls. The night of his death, he suffered a fifth fall that resulted in a subdural hematoma. The facility’s protocol following a fall with head injury is to initiate a series of neurological checks on the resident. Ms. Gainey failed to perform any of the eight required neurological checks, but falsely documented that she had completed them. This failure to provide necessary care equates to nursing home neglect.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro states, “When a family selects a senior living facility, they do not expect their loved one to be found dead in the lobby of a place that was supposed to be caring for him. This nurse ignored her job responsibilities, falsified paperwork, lied to her supervisors and neglected Mr. McMaster, who died.” Mr. Shapiro also asserted that there are several active and ongoing investigations into long term care facilities and nursing homes throughout Pennsylvania, and that he is taking a hard line in addressing nursing home neglect.
Despite Ms. Gainey’s culpability for Mr. McMaster’s death, there are many who question the role that the nursing home operators played, as well. A 141-page report completed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health also pointed fingers at the Administrators of the facility for failing in their duties and responsibilities. Ms. Gainey was an agency nurse, not a permanent facility employee. She was responsible for the care of 39 residents that night. During the time that she failed to care for Mr. McMaster, she was actively involved in caring for the other residents.
How can one nurse be expected to provide necessary care for 39 residents? Sadly, this type of staffing ratio happens all too frequently in nursing homes, despite the knowledge that understaffing is often a central component of nursing home neglect. Nurses and aides who are stretched too thin are more likely to make mistakes, such as medication errors, or fail to provide the necessary care to residents who depend on them. Nursing home owners and operators who routinely understaff put profits ahead of patient care. This can no longer be tolerated; nursing home residents deserve to be safe and respected.
It’s critical that nursing homes are held responsible for neglect. If your loved one has suffered an injury because of nursing home neglect, the experienced and compassionate lawyers at our firm can help you understand your legal options. Call 888-789-3161 today or complete the online form on our website to speak directly with an attorney.
The nursing home neglect lawyers at our firm understand the plight of the nation’s nursing home residents. No one should be subject to neglect and substandard care in long term care facilities. Our attorneys will partner with you to take a stand against underperforming nursing homes and seek compensation for their injuries. Call us today or send us a message to speak directly with an nursing home neglect lawyer.