A nurse at the Pennsylvania facility where the father of former National Security Advisor HR McMaster died will stand trial for charges of involuntary manslaughter, according to the Washington Times. Pennsylvania judge Karen Simmons ruled that 30-year-old Christann Gainey, a former contract nurse at the Cathedral Village senior care facility in Philadelphia, to stand trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter, neglect of care of a dependent person and tampering with records.
"To say that this is tragic is the biggest understatement I can say. That Ms. Gainey is the only person before me … is also tragic," Simmons said, adding that she would find the same for anybody else who was responsible for HR McMaster's care. The Pennsylvania Attorney General's office charged Gainey in May, and the judge ruled on Monday that there is enough evidence to proceed to trial. Nobody else at the facility was charged in McMaster's death.
According to prosecutors, McMaster fell and struck his head in April and died hours later due to bleeding in his brain. Gainey had been assigned to monitor him and perform neurological and vital sign checks at set intervals. Instead, she falsified records showing she'd conducted the checks. Prosecutors played several hours of surveillance footage during Monday's hearing to show Gainey was not near McMaster at the times she recorded in her logs. One of her logged checks occurred after McMaster had died.
Sharon Piper, Gainey’s attorney, pushed back against the idea that Gainey was being lazy or shirking her duties by pointing out that the surveillance footage depicted a woman who was working to care for 38 patients on her floor. Piper said she believes her client is a scapegoat in a high-profile case. She alleged that phone calls from the White House influenced the aggressiveness of the investigation and the decision to file criminal charges.
As we reported back in April, the Pennsylvania attorney general's investigation into the circumstances surrounding McMaster Sr.'s death was part of a broader probe into the possibility of institutional neglect.