Philadelphia Nurse Pleads Guilty to Nursing Home Neglect in Death of H.R. McMaster, Sr.: 

A former nursing home nurse has pleaded guilty to two charges related to the 2018 fatal nursing home fall of the father of former Trump national security advisor H.R. McMaster, Jr., according to NBC Philadelphia. In a court appearance on March 29, 34-year-old Christann Gainey pleaded guilty to misdemeanor neglect of a care-dependent person and to tampering with records related to the 84-year-old man’s wrongful death.

According to NBC Philadelphia, in April 2018, H.R. McMaster, Sr., died from a brain bleed following a nursing home fall only a few days after becoming a resident at Philadelphia’s Cathedral Village senior living facility. He had struck his head during the fall, and although his injury required periodic neurological and vital sign assessments as per the facility’s medical policy, Gainey, who was the Licensed Practical Nurse on duty at the time of McMaster’s fall, failed to perform the necessary checks. McMaster died a few hours later.

The Philadelphia nurse pleads guilty to nursing home neglect; and according to a 2018 report by 6abc Action News, an investigation into the death revealed that, while Gainey did in fact fill out the flow sheets consistent with neurological evaluations, she did not actually perform any evaluations, as evidenced by surveillance video.

Such intentional forging of medical documents by nursing home workers—known as false charting—is a type of nursing home neglect and abuse that is more common than many people realize. False charting is motivated by a range of factors, but almost always aims to conceal poor care. Mistakes and omissions of duty are covered up when medical charts indicate otherwise; however, as was the case with McMaster, despite the cover-up attempted by false charting, the truth of nursing home neglect often reveals itself in the subsequent illness, injury, or wrongful death of nursing home residents.

Having suffered a stroke in advance of his admission to Cathedral Village, McMaster was a high risk candidate for nursing home falls. No explanation has been given as to why a resident at high risk for nursing home falls was, within days of his admission, discovered on the floor with an open head wound and another wound on his shoulder; unfortunately many nursing home falls occur when proper precautions are not put into place or when fall-risk residents are left along for long periods due to inadequate staffing.

Irrespective of the whys behind McMaster’s fall, the failure to follow medical protocol, and the prioritization of paperwork over patient care, certainly demonstrate nursing home neglect. As a result of her guilty plea, Gainey has been sentenced to house arrest for six months plus four years of probation, during which time she can neither attempt to reinstate her license or work in a care facility. As part of the plea agreement, the additional counts of felony neglect and involuntary manslaughter originally charged against the former LPN were dropped.

Ensuring the Safety of Your Loved One

Determining the quality and safety of the Philadelphia/PA or NJ nursing home where your loved one lives is essential. Meeting health and safety standards and to ensuring the physical, mental, and psycho/social well-being of their residents is a requirement to which Pennsylvania and New Jersey nursing homes must adhere. Should you have concerns about the quality of care in a Pennsylvania or New Jersey nursing home, or if you suspect neglect, abuse, or fraud has occurred at the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, or New Jersey nursing home where your loved one lives, please contact nursing home abuse attorney Brian P. Murphy to discover your legal rights and options.