The Massachusetts Attorney General considers this to be the first criminal case of its kind opened in the United States.
Two former heads of a Massachusetts veteran’s residence have been charged with negligence after the deaths of at least 76 residents of the center during the coronavirus pandemic, the newspaper reports. The New York Times, through the declaration of the attorney general of that State. Bennett Walsh, head of the Holyoke Soldier’s Home residence, and David Clinton, the center’s former medical director, each face 10 counts from a grand jury, ranging from criminal neglect of residents to damage inflicted on residents. If ultimately convicted, both men can face several years in prison.
“It breaks your heart to think about how the residents and staff of this center suffered during all those months,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “Walsh and Clinton were responsible for the decision to mix 42 veterans, some with positive diagnoses of covid-19, with others who did not present any symptoms, in a space that at most should have accommodated 25 people.”
“We initiated this investigation at the request of the families who lost their loved ones under tragic circumstances and to honor the memory of all those men who honorably served their country,” Healey said in a statement. The attorney general believes that this is the first criminal case opened in the United States against those responsible for a nursing home for the treatment received during the pandemic.
“Even knowing that the indictment will not return the relatives to their loved ones, I sincerely hope that it brings comfort to all those affected by this tragedy,” said the attorney general. “We will do everything necessary to make the guilty pay for their actions,” she concluded.
The investigation has focused on what happened on March 27, when the center staff mixed two wards of veterans with dementia with others infected by the virus and other fully healthy residents. What happened next was a ticking time bomb that has left at least 76 fatalities, for which Walsh and Clinton will now have to answer to justice.
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