Personal Injury

Family sues county, administrator resigns over nun’s death

Here is an update on a story we reported last month about an investigation into a Rockland County, N.Y., nursing home where a 90-year-old nun was killed when the closet in her room toppled over onto her. According to Lo Hud, New York’s Lower Hudson Valley newspaper, in the wake of the investigation into Summit Park Nursing Care, the patient-services administrator has announced he plans to resign and the maintenance director is taking an early retirement package. The nursing home’s patient-services administrator Aldo Trolani also served as the county’s acting commissioner of hospitals for the Department of Hospitals.

The falling closet incident in which Sister Mary Murray was killed occurred in August. At the time of the accident, family members accepted the nursing home’s explanation – that Sister Murray’s death was just a freak accident. However, an ABC 7 Eyewitness News investigation revealed that two other residents in the home were injured by falling closets. Summit Park Nursing Care was found by the state Department of Health to be an “immediate jeopardy to resident health and safety,” but no disciplinary action had taken place at that time.

According to Lo Hud, after the two falling closet incidents and before the incident that resulted in Sister Murray’s death, the county had ordered maintenance workers to bolt the two closets that had tipped but did not request the same be done with the rest of the nearly 300 closets in the nursing home.

The family of Sister Murray has filed a lawsuit against the county claiming her death was caused by the “gross recklessness and gross negligence of Summit Park and the county of Rockland and its employees,” according to the newspaper story.

The home was fined $17,300 for negligence in the nun’s death and is still under investigation by the Attorney General and the New York Department of Health.