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Charges filed in death of elderly father of former Trump official

No matter how much power and wealth people have, they can't always protect loved ones in nursing homes from negligence and abuse. Former national security advisor H.R. McMaster is dealing with the death of his 84-year-old father in a senior living facility just days after he was admitted following a stroke. General McMaster lost his position in the Trump administration this spring amid reports that he and the president didn't see eye-to-eye on a number of issues.

Gen. McMaster's father, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, was found in the facility's lobby in his wheelchair, dead, in the early morning on April 13. According to officials, staff at the hospital had found him on the floor late the previous night after an "unwitnessed fall." According to the local medical examiner, McMaster died due to head trauma and an untreated subdural hematoma.

A nurse at the facility, located outside Philadelphia, is facing multiple charges. These include involuntary manslaughter, neglecting a care-dependent person and records tampering. She was supposed to perform multiple neurological checks on him, as the protocol following a fall required.

However, according to the Pennsylvania attorney general, "This nurse ignored her job responsibilities, falsified paperwork, lied to her supervisors and neglected Mr. McMaster." She allegedly indicated in his records that she'd performed neurological checks that she hadn't -- including one at a time when he was already dead. However, "She did not perform one -- not one -- neurological check on Mr. McMaster." These checks "could have indicated the severity of his injuries and steps could have been taken to save his life."

The nurse, whom the facility says worked for an outside staffing agency, reportedly plans to plead not guilty. Her attorney said the charges "seem more appropriate in a civil court rather than a criminal one."

The McMaster family publicly expressed gratitude to prosecutors and police and called the senior McMaster a "tough and compassionate soldier and public servant....committed to his neighbors, his fellow soldiers, his community and his country."

Responsible caregivers in facilities across West Virginia know how fragile many of their patients are. Elderly people are particularly susceptible to falls and the serious injuries that can result. That's why patients who've suffered a fall require close observation afterwards. When these important protocols are ignored and patients are harmed, families have the right to take legal action in addition to any criminal penalties faced by those responsible.

Source: Washington Post, "Nurse charged in death of H.R. McMaster's father," Eli Rosenberg, May 10, 2018

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