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Families Sue Whitefish Nursing Home Claiming Negligence Led To COVID-19 Deaths

A partial view of hands pushing a wheelchair with an elderly person sitting in it.
Stock photo (PD)

Families of four former Whitefish Care And Rehabilitation residents filed a lawsuit in county court Tuesday alleging that negligence in implementing COVID-19 protocols at the facility led to their family members' deaths.

McGarvy Law Attorney Roger Sullivan says the Kalispell-based law firm filed the suit in Flathead County Court along with Heenan & Cook based in Billings. Sullivan says the lawsuit alleges that the negligence cited in a recent report from the state health department and federal health officials is at the heart of this case.

"This is one of those cases in which we allege that the defendants here had knowledge of facts, or intentionally disregarded facts that indicated that there was a high probability of injury to these individuals," Sullivan says.

Reports from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services from May and early September show that Whitefish Care And Rehabilitation failed to implement measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 among residents.

Sullivan says he is seeking a jury trial and punitive damages on behalf of the four families involved in the case.

Whitefish Care & Rehab did not return a call for comment by deadline.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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