A nurse in Pennsylvania has been charged in the death of former Trump national security adviser H.R. McMaster’s father for failing to provide proper care at the senior living facility where the 84-year-old died, authorities say.
Herbert R. McMaster Sr., 84, was found dead in a wheelchair around 7 a.m. April 13 in the lobby of the Cathedral Village in Upper Roxborough, outside Philadelphia, after falling and suffering a head injury, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a news release Thursday. Christann Gainey, 30, of Philadelphia, was arrested and charged with neglect of a care-dependent person, involuntary manslaughter and tampering with records stemming from the death, Shapiro said.
At about 11:30 p.m. April 12, staff found McMaster on the floor of his room after he had an “unwitnessed fall” at the facility, officials said. Shapiro’s office said that Gainey did not subsequently administer eight required neurological checks to McMaster. Those steps “could have indicated the severity of his injuries and steps could have been taken to save his life.” The facility requires frequent neurological assessments for patients who experience unwitnessed falls, which include tests of motor and verbal skills, vital signs and eye response.
“This nurse ignored her job responsibilities, falsified paperwork, lied to her supervisors and neglected Mr. McMaster,” Shapiro said in a statement.
McMaster had been admitted to the facility after suffering a stroke days before. When he was discovered in the lobby of the building April 13, an administrator asked Gainey for the paperwork that documented the neurological assessments, officials said.
But the attorney general’s office said Gainey’s paperwork indicated that the most recent check on McMaster had been after his death and that it determined that Gainey did not perform any neurological exams on McMaster after he had fallen.
“She did not perform one — not one — neurological check on Mr. McMaster, and even lied on the paperwork that she did,” Shapiro said. “The evidence shows that Gainey intentionally, knowingly and recklessly caused serious bodily injury to Mr. McMaster by failing to provide treatment or care. We will hold her — and anyone else who knowingly neglects a care-dependent person in Pennsylvania — accountable.”
Sharon Piper Donovan, Gainey’s lawyer, said in a statement that the allegations levied by Shapiro “seem more appropriate in a civil court rather than a criminal one.”
“Ms. Gainey is a single mother and was simply doing her job. She had nothing to do with causing the death of Mr. McMaster,” Donovan said. “Ms. Gainey looks forward to her day in court and having all of the facts presented. When all of the evidence is heard, we fully expect her to be exonerated.”
The Philadelphia chief medical examiner ruled that McMaster’s death was caused by blunt-impact head trauma and that untreated subdural hematoma was a contributing factor, Shapiro’s office said.
Donovan told the Associated Press that Gainey will plead not guilty to the charges.
Cathedral Village said in a statement Thursday that Gainey was employed by an outside staffing agency and had been removed “from our community” immediately following McMaster’s death.
McMaster’s family released a statement from the sister of the former national security adviser, Letitia McMaster.
“Our family is grateful for the work that the dedicated professionals of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and Philadelphia Police Department have done to investigate our father’s death and prosecute those responsible,” she said. “Our father, Lieutenant Colonel Herbert R. McMaster (U.S. Army, retired), was a tough and compassionate soldier and public servant. He was committed to his neighbors, his fellow soldiers, his community and his country.”