LACONIA — A Superior Court judge has ruled that a Meredith nursing home being sued for wrongful death of a resident does not have to divulge records created through the facility’s quality control program.
Golden View Health Care Center, whose legal entity is Metro Health Foundation of NH, is being sued for medical negligence and wrongful death by the estate of Barbara Whittier.
Whittier, 82, died on March 16, 2016, from injuries she received when she was attacked by Donald Sleeper, another resident at the skilled-nursing facility.
Matthew Lahey, the attorney representing Medric H. Whittier Sr., Donna L. Garnett, and Antoine Whittier, co-executors of the Whittier estate, wanted Golden View to turn over to Judge James D. O’Neill III all records related to Barbara Whittier’s death, and records related to staffing and training at Golden View.
But in his ruling O’Neill wrote that the records Lahey was seeking “are not original or other records kept relative to any patient,” and so do not have to be turned over to the court.
The suit alleges that although Golden View was aware of Sleeper’s “intimidating, stalking and assaultive behavior towards staff and other residents, including Barbara Whittier” … (it failed) to provide sufficient security to protect Barbara Whittier from Mr. Sleeper.”
Calls to Lahey seeking comment on the ruling were not immediately returned.
State investigators said at the time of Whittier’s death staff members had intervened after Sleeper, 87, was found physically assaulting the woman.
An autopsy determined that Whittier died of hypertensive and coronary heart disease, with a contributing cause of attempted strangulation. Her death was ruled a homicide.
Officials said Sleeper had been a resident of the nursing home since the fall of 2015 and had severe Alzheimer's dementia. He was taken to another medical facility after Whittier's death.