2 former caregivers to be sentenced for felonies in resident's hypothermia death

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Photo: John Merkle
Photo: John Merkle

Two former caregivers at a Michigan assisted living and memory care community are scheduled to be sentenced next month after entering pleas to felony charges in a case involving a resident with dementia who froze to death after exiting the building.

Kathryn Brackett, 85, was last seen in her room at Crystal Springs Peace Harbor in Grand Rapids, MI, at approximately 12:30 a.m. on Oct. 26, 2016, and her body was found in the community's courtyard the next day at 5:20 a.m., according to staff member interviews conducted by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

LARA's report, dated Dec. 6, 2016, referred to Brackett as “Resident A,” but she was named in a lawsuit against the community filed in January by Brackett's family. The lawsuit claims negligence and carelessness.

Denise Filcek and Yahira Zamora were working the overnight shift at Crystal Springs when the incident occurred, according to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who announced charges against the women in March.

Filcek pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of intentional inclusion of misleading or inaccurate information in a medical chart, according to a local media report. Schuette had alleged that Filcek documented that she had performed the every-30-minute visual bed checks for which she was responsible when she had not done so for all residents. Brackett was one of the residents not checked on.

Filcek will be sentenced Nov. 28.

Zamora pleaded no contest Sept. 20 to second-degree vulnerable adult abuse, according to another local media report. Schuette said that on the night in question, Zamora reset an alarmed door without determining whether any residents had exited the facility. She will be sentenced in early November.

The community was operated by Meridian Senior Living at the time of the incident. LARA found Crystal Springs to be in violation of its license by not providing supervision, protection and personal care as defined by law and as specified in Brackett's written assessment plan. The community was ordered to provide a plan of correction before being issued a six-month provisional license. A Thursday check of LARA's website found the facility's license listed as “regular” as of June 28.

Meridian no longer runs the community.

At the time the charges were announced, Schuette said each woman faced up to four years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine if found guilty.

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