PHILADELPHIA — There was no criminal intent for neglect in the death of the father of former national security adviser H.R. McMaster, the attorney representing the nurse charged in his death at a Philadelphia senior care facility said Tuesday.
Christann Gainey was charged as a way to deflect criminal liability from the facility, Cathedral Village, attorney Sharon Piper said at a preliminary hearing. Gainey, a 30-year-old nurse who worked for an outside agency, has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter, neglect of care for a dependent person and falsifying records.
The Pennsylvania attorney general's office filed the charges against Gainey last month. Prosecutors say surveillance video shows that Gainey failed to conduct a series of eight neurological evaluations of H.R. McMaster Sr. as required, and then falsified documents to make it seem she had.
A deputy medical examiner testified Tuesday that he performed a limited autopsy on McMaster and determined he had suffered from bleeding between his brain and skull. He said pressure from the pool of blood was enough to "distort the surface of the brain."
An assistant nursing director testified that after 84-year-old McMaster's death, she asked Gainey whether the nurse had conducted the required evaluations of the patient. She said Gainey replied saying she had and that they were normal.
When the supervisor noted the last entry on McMaster's neurological chart indicated that an evaluation had been performed 20 minutes after his death, she said Gainey told her she had falsified that one.
Piper noted that a Health Department report issued after McMaster's death pointed to issues with neurological checks not being done on McMaster after previous unwitnessed falls at the facility as well, noting Gainey was not working during those incidents.
The report released Saturday noted that facility administrators had failed to properly supervise staff and that a fall prevention plan had not been developed.
The hearing lasted more than two hours. Three more witnesses are set to testify in July.