Death of woman pushed by fellow nursing home resident ruled a homicide

The death of a Virginia nursing home resident who died after being pushed by another resident has been ruled a homicide, but no charges are expected to be filed, authorities announced on Thursday.

Danielle Griffin, 87, and another female resident of Leewood Healthcare Center in Annandale, VA, were reportedly arguing in May 2016 when the other resident pushed Griffin, causing her to fall. Griffin was taken to a nearby hospital and diagnosed with a broken hip, according to a police report. Griffin was treated and released back to Leewood a few days later.

Within weeks Griffin was complaining of shortness of breath, and died a few hours after being readmitted to the hospital.

An October autopsy performed on Griffin concluded that her cause of death was complications from a hip fracture, along with “extensive additional” conditions, authorities said. The medical examiner who performed the autopsy ruled Griffin's death a homicide.

Griffin had dementia and hypertension; the unnamed resident who pushed Griffin was also found to have a “diminished mental capacity,” authorities said.

“At this point, given the totality of the circumstances, no charges are expected to be placed in this case,” police said in their announcement.

In a statement to McKnight's, Leewood officials said the facility follows “a systematic approach to identify and manage any events as they occur.” In Griffin's case, this approach included an investigation into the incident by the facility's clinical team, as well as the facility reporting the incident to “all appropriate state agencies.”

“While it is not possible to prevent all unforeseen incidents, it is the facility's objective through its Quality Assurance Program to keep its residents safe and well,” Leewood said.