Nursing home denies hair styling contributed to resident's death

Share this content:

A New Hampshire skilled nursing facility refutes claims that a resident died due to complications from a perm at the facility's salon, according to new legal documents.

The lawsuit against Oceanside Center in Hampton, NH, was filed in October by the family of resident Betty Pettigrew. It argued that the chemicals used to style Pettigrew's hair were applied incorrectly in November 2014. Stylists didn't completely remove the chemicals, causing Pettigrew to have an allergic reaction, the lawsuit states.

Pettigrew's daughter said the chemical caused burns to her mother's shoulder and made one of her eyes swell shut, leading to vision impairment that eventually caused her to fall and break her hip. Pettigrew died in April 2015.

An attorney for the Genesis-owned Oceanside Center filed a response to the suit in New Hampshire Superior Court last month that claims the fall was due to Pettigrew not using her walker, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported on Wednesday.

The facility also responded that Pettigrew's hampered vision was caused by a condition known as entropion, and that the abrasions on her shoulder were “self-inflicted” with scratching and “were fully healed in a matter of days.”

Oceanside's response also asserts that the facility did not have control over employees of Generation Hair Care, the contractor who styled Pettigrew's hair. Neither Generations or the stylist who performed the perm have filed responses in court, the Union Leader reported.