Two former leaders in the home of Massachusetts veteran leaders have been charged with criminal negligence in a coronavirus outbreak that contributed to the deaths of at least 76 residents, the state’s attorney general said Friday.
Bennett Wallace, 50, and David. David Clinton, on Thursday, was indicted by a state grand jury in connection with his work at the facility, according to Malice’s Holyoke Leo Home, Mr. Walsh was the superintendent. Clinton as its medical director.
“We believe this is the first criminal case in the country against people involved in a nursing home during the Covid-1p epidemic,” State Attorney General Maura Haley told a news conference Friday. These individuals face serious crimes and could face up to years or decades in prison if convicted.
“We claim that the actions of these defendants during the Covid-19 outbreak at the facility increase the risk of infection and death to veterans and compensate for criminal offenses.”
Each man was convicted on five counts for two counts; Specific charges were for caregivers who allow “improperly or negligently” or cause physical injury and abuse, neglect or abuse of an elderly or disabled person. The criminal negligence charge carries a term of up to three years, and the charge of serious bodily injury carries a sentence of up to 10 years for each count, Ms. Haley said.
Mr. Wallace’s lawyer, Tracy A. Miner, in an email, said he plans to plead not guilty.
“It’s unfortunate that the attorney general is blaming the effects of a deadly virus that our state and federal governments have not been able to stop on Bennett Walsh,” he said. Mr. Wallace, he added, “was trying his best to do whatever he could to help the veterans of the Holyoke Soldiers Home, seeking the help of state officials and the National Guard.”
Dr. Counsel for Clinton’s lawyer could not be immediately reached for comment.
Home of soldiers in Holyoke, State operated facility Providing health care, clinical care and other assistance to veterans, the investigation has been ongoing since early April, when the attorney general’s office said it had “learned about serious issues with Covid-19 infection control procedures.”
Until then, there were officers Growing anxiety growing About the facility, j Laying fragile veterans of World War II and other conflicts. Within five days, eight veterans had died, others had contracted coronavirus, and staff members had also fallen ill. The flag was lowered by half the staff at Holioke, a city of 40,000 inhabitants more than 90 miles west of Bolin.
Investigators focused on the events of late March, When Staff members linked two dementia wards to the infection Veterans and healthy residents are “increasing the exposure of asymptomatic veterans to the virus,” the attorney general’s office said.
Due to staff shortages, the facility consolidated the units, which had a total of 426 residents, who had various Covid-1 stat positions, the office said. Residences that were positive or symptomatic were placed in six rooms in which usually four giants were housed.
The residence is believed to have housed residents in nine beds in the dining room, where they were “a few feet apart from each other” and next to a room of infected patients.
A facility employee told investigators that a report released months later said the decision to merge Wards was “the most insane thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.”
“Residents of the consolidated unit allegedly gathered without regard to the Quid-19 status,” the office said, adding that the decision was “irrational” in terms of infection control and increased the risk of asymptomatic veterans contracting the “Quid-1 contract”. ”
In June, investigators released him 174 page report That A feature has been featured in ChaosIn addition to listing a series of errors in the protection of residents, excluding the decision to join the crowded wards and describing the conditions in terms of dinner, the report quoted people working in the facility who said, “It looks like this concentration camp is moving forward We are moving veterans to die. “
The office said Mr. Walsh and Dr. Cl. Clinton, who was not taken into custody, will be arraigned in Hampden County Superior Court, but no date has been set. Dr. Clinton resigned following the presentation of the investigators’ report, and Mr. Walsh was placed on administrative leave on March 30.
Nursing homes, which are considered to be at high risk for coronavirus in the home population, suffer throughout the epidemic, and about 40 percent of coronavirus cases in the United States are associated with them. At least 77,000 residents and workers across the country have died from the virus at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities for the elderly, according to the New York Times database.
The severity of the outbreak in nursing homes has drawn scrutiny from officials operating it in many states. In august, Department of Justice Announced that it had requested Covid-19 data from the states in which orders were issued “which could result in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents.”
The department notes that nursing homes in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan are required to provide Covid-1 patients for sensitization “in their sensitive population, often without adequate testing.”
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