Family claims hair styling led to resident's death at skilled nursing facility

The daughter of a former New Hampshire nursing home resident has filed a lawsuit claiming her mother suffered a reaction to chemicals while receiving a perm at the facility's salon that eventually led to her death.

The suit was filed earlier this month by Betty Ann Fraser, whose mother Betty Pettigrew was a resident of Genesis HealthCare-operated Oceanside Center in Hampton, NH. Fraser's suit claims that the chemicals used to give Pettigrew a perm in November 2014 were applied incorrectly and not completely removed, causing her to have an adverse reaction.

Chemical residue caused burns to Pettigrew's shoulder and made one of her eyes swell shut, leading to vision impairment. That hampered vision is what caused to Pettigrew to fall and break her hip in February 2015, leading to her death two months later, Richard Foley, Fraser's attorney, told the New Hampshire Union Leader.

“Once you incur a significant injury like that, the odds of living a full year are pretty slim,” Foley said.

Fraser's lawsuit targets Oceanside's parent company, Genesis, as well as the employees who worked in the facility's salon. The suit accuses Oceanside and the salon employees of negligence, and seeks unspecified damages for Pettigrew's mental and physical pain, medical expenses and loss of life, as well as Fraser's loss of companionship of her mother.

Genesis cannot comment on pending litigation, a spokeswoman for the company told McKnight's on Monday.