Woman dies after being struck by pickup outside state police barracks, Bradford man to be charged with motor-vehicle homicide

ANDOVER — A Bradford man will be arraigned on motor-vehicle homicide and drunken-driving charges today after the 31-year-old woman he struck outside the state police barracks died last night, state police said.

Robert V. Bryant, 50, is accused of mowing down the woman in his full-size Chevy pickup and then striking her vehicle as she walked out of the state police barracks on Route 125 yesterday afternoon. Bryant then drove away before he was captured by troopers about 150 yards away on the highway, state police said.

The woman, who has not yet been identified by state police, was first taken to Lawrence General Hospital and later transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for surgery. She was pronounced dead some time last night, state police said.

Bryant was being held on $50,000 cash bail last night.

The woman was also a Bradford resident, but state police said there is no indication that she and Bryant knew one another.

The accident occurred after the woman went to the state police barracks to pick up some paperwork around 3:05 p.m., yesterday, state police Sgt. Eric Bernstein said.

The woman was there to pick up an accident report for her husband, who was involved in a crash earlier Sunday, he said.

She parked her Toyota Highlander in the barracks’ U-shaped driveway. Her mother was a passenger in the Highlander.

It was raining heavily on Route 125, a “heavily traveled cut-through” from Interstate 93 to North Andover, Bernstein said.

The woman was “walking from the barracks to her car” when she was struck by Bryant’s vehicle. Bryant then struck the parked Highlander.

The woman’s mother was sitting in the passenger’s seat of the Highlander when it was struck. The older woman ran to the barracks to get help and did not immediately know her daughter had been hit, Bernstein said.

Troopers found her daughter laying unconscious on the grass and immediately began first aid and called for an ambulance, he said.

Bryant, meanwhile, had driven off. Troopers arrested him a short distance away after the right front tire came off the pickup, Bernstein said.

The tire was damaged “as a result of the impact” in the accident, Bernstein said.

The accident remains under investigation by Trooper Edward Troy of the Andover barracks, who is being assisted by troopers specially trained in accident reconstruction. Investigators from District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office are also involved.


Nursing Home Negligence

Falls in Nursing Homes

Litigators who work with cases involving long term care know how significant the issue of falls can be. Falls are the leading cause of injury and death by injury in adults over 65. Approximately half of the 1.6 million nursing home residents in the U.S. fall each year, and a report by the Office of the Inspector General found that about 10% of Medicare skilled nursing residents experience a fall resulting in significant injury; and, more than 1/3 of hospital falls result in injury. In the rehab setting, rates are often higher – for example, fall rates among stroke patients have been shown to be very high. Immobility and falls can lead to poor outcomes.

Fear of falling is defined as a geriatric syndrome. It not only occurs in older adults who have fallen, but in those with impaired mobility and is associated with decreased physical ability and depression. Care of older adults requires that clinicians be aware of the myriad of issues related to falls including knowledge of this syndrome, increased risk and interventions needed to prevent injury related to falls.

Just about every resident in a long term care setting, including assisted living and sub-acute rehab, is at risk for falling. Between medications, functional and medical issues and advancing age, older adults in most settings are prone to falling.

There are well established standards of care related to fall prevention; but, as I continue to review records related to issues like falls, I am amazed at how often these basic standards are not being practiced. The basics of a fall prevention program include assessment and ongoing reassessment of risk, ensuring a safe environment, medication review, providing therapy as needed, individualized interventions, and staff education.

Basic nursing practice includes assessment, planning (Care plan), putting interventions in place and then evaluating outcomes to determine if those interventions are appropriate and effective. Assessment includes completing fall risk assessments on admission and then as needed. Very often, the fall risk assessments completed by nurses in LTC are inaccurate. The tools utilized in long term care typically include these risk factors: history of falling, use of ambulatory aids, gait/balance issues, medications, secondary diagnoses (i.e. diabetes) and mental status. Care planning is the next step in nursing care - it is the standard of care that as the resident’s status changes, assessments and care plans must be updated, and often, are not. For example, with each fall, there should be updates, or if there is a new diagnosis, i.e. stroke, or worsening dementia, updated interventions should be put into place, with ongoing evaluation of effectiveness.

Care planning and interventions very often are generic and not individualized. For example, a toileting schedule that includes only after meals and before bedtime may not be appropriate. If a resident has issues with constipation or incontinence, this may lead to the need for more frequent toileting to prevent falls. The “make certain call bell is within reach” for residents with dementia is an example of a generic intervention. Older adults with dementia may not recognize a call bell or remember to use it. The debate about use of bed and chair alarms go on – they are a part of an individualized care plan, not a solution to preventing falls. Often, I see delays in putting interventions in place, i.e. with the resident who is incontinent NOT being put on a toileting plan immediately. The other common issue I see when reviewing records is the lack of updating care plans as the resident’s status changes – with every fall, with worsening dementia, physical decline, or new medical diagnosis (i.e. Parkinsonism).

Nurses reviewing records need to pay attention to the MDS, risk assessments, care plans and Interdisciplinary notes with attention to where the standard of care is not being met.
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7 days ago  ·  

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