Death at Nursing Home – Expert Contributes to Boston Globe Story

Nursing Home Administrator & Health Care Expert, Tiffanie Haemer contributed to a Boston Globe story involving the untimely death of a nursing home resident.

As an expert at Robson Forensic, Ms. Haemer is retained on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants to investigate the adequacy of care provided in nursing homes and other assisted-living facilities. She approaches this work with the experience gained as a Nursing Home Administrator, Registered Nurse, Wound Care Specialist, Diabetic Wound Care Specialist, and an expert in Resident Assessment Coordination.

Example of Patient Hoist
Example of Patient Hoist

Story Originally Published by the Boston Globe: January 19, 2016

By Kay Lazar GLOBE STAFF JANUARY 19, 2016

Mary Meuse was all set to visit her family on Christmas. Two days later, the 83-year-old resident of Woodbriar Health Center in Wilmington was dead.

A certified nursing assistant using a mechanical lift to move Meuse from her bed to a wheelchair Christmas morning violated a cardinal safety rule, according to a former Woodbriar staffer and a report the nursing home filed with Massachusetts regulators.

Most mechanical lifts require at least two people for safe operation, according to the Food and Drug Administration. But the 21-year-old nursing aide, with no assistance, improperly placed Meuse in the lift, according to the report, and Meuse slipped out, crashed to the ground, and broke both legs.

Meuse, who was on blood-thinning medication for heart problems, was not sent to a hospital until the next day. By then, she was bleeding internally. She died in the hospital Dec. 27.

The Christmas Day accident raises new concerns about the quality of care provided by the company that owns Woodbriar, Synergy Health Centers.

... [abridged, read the full version at Boston Globe]

“This is concerning,” said Tiffanie Haemer, a registered nurse and nursing home specialist at Robson Forensic, a Pennsylvania company that conducts health care-related forensic investigations and analysis. Haemer reviewed federal health data for Woodbriar at the Globe’s request.

The federal data rates a nursing home on the total hours worked by all of its nurses in the two weeks before its last inspection, and on this measure Woodbriar rates above average. But the data also show that the nursing home is “well below” the average for the number of hours worked by registered nurses, which can lead to issues regarding leadership and decision-making, Haemer said. Registered nurses receive substantially more training and education than other nurses and are generally expected to do more critical thinking on the job.

“Additionally, [Woodbriar is] below the national and state average for nurse-aide hours,” Haemer said. “This is concerning as nurse aides provide the hands-on support for most nursing homes.”

It was a nursing assistant, working alone, who dropped Meuse from the mechanical lift. Haemer said most manufacturers require at least two workers to operate a mechanical lift — one to ensure the resident is safely secured in the sling-style machine, while the other operates the controls.


The experts at Robson Forensic are frequently retained to investigate the adequacy of care provided in nursing homes and other assisted-living facilities. Our experts can address many aspects of these cases from administrative policies and procedures, to the level of care provided by health care professionals, or the maintenance and custodial practices of care facilities.

Read more at our Health Care Supervision practice page.