Coronavirus In Nursing Homes
The Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the Justice Department are investigating a Massachusetts veteran’s or soldier’s home where 32 veterans have died of coronavirus, officials announced Friday.
The department’s Civil Rights Division will investigate whether Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, a state-run facility about 90 miles west of Boston, failed to provide adequate medical care to its residents.
The nursing home is already under investigation by state officials. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, has tapped a former federal prosecutor to investigate on behalf of the commonwealth.
The management of the Soldier’s Home has faced intense scrutiny after the first eight deaths at the facility, which occurred throughout the month of March, were kept secret from the Holyoke city government and Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services.
An anonymous whistleblower from inside the 68-year-old complex alerted Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse to the initial deaths on March 28. Two dozen more patients have since died from the virus.
“These are people who gave their all, risked their lives to protect all of us, and they deserve better,” Morse said on a Facebook livestream, recounting the anonymous tip that first alerted officials to the conditions and the “gravity of the situation.”
When Morse finally got a hold of the facility’s superintendent, Bennett Walsh, Morse said he was “shocked” to learn eight veterans died during a four-day span without any public notification.
“There was a clear lack of urgency on that phone call,” Morse said, characterizing Walsh as downplaying the deaths because of the residents’ underlying health conditions and old age. “That’s certainly not an excuse for improper isolation of those folks that did test positive.”
Walsh was immediately suspended from his position. The Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services also announced a new “clinical command structure” to bring clinical expertise to Soldiers’ Home, among other measures.
Long-term care facilities for the elderly are at the center of the nation’s coronavirus crisis. The first major outbreak in the U.S. occurred in a facility in Kirkland, Washington, where 37 people linked to the facility have died. That facility faces $600,000 in fines after federal and state inspectors identified several issues with its handling of the outbreak.
Louisiana has lost at least 103 nursing home patients to coronavirus. Outbreaks have been identified in at lest 70 nursing homes. The situation is so dire and compelling that Louisiana has stopped reporting the number of deaths and cases in nursing homes. The state no longer identifies the nursing homes with reported cases making it impossible for loved ones to understand the risk to their family members.
Historically, Lousiana nursing homes and care facilities have ranked near the bottom in patient care, staffing and hygiene. Fisher Injury Lawyers has represented many families who prematurely lost a parent due to neglect and poor patient care. We understand nursing home negligence claims and we can not tolerate the gross neglect of allowing coronavirus to infected nursing homes leaving our parents and grandparents at high risk of death.
If you have lost a loved one to coronavirus while in the care of a nursing home, retirement home or rehabilitation facility, CALL US NOW. You may have a claim and we are here to help with experience and a proven record of success. Call anytime.