Public nursing home head resigns after failing to report death investigation

Share this content:

The director for New York's Cattaraugus County nursing homes has resigned, following his failure to notify county officials of a state death investigation.

County officials said they accepted the resignation of Timothy Hellwig last month after they learned the state's attorney general's office had been to Machias Pines to investigate an injury suffered by a resident, who later died.

Staff did not report the 93-year-old woman's fall at the time, but her injuries were discovered because of extensive bruising days later, according to The Salamanca Press. She died at the Buffalo hospital where she was taken for treatment.

Hellwig submitted his resignation to the county administrator Feb. 23. He also oversaw the county's Pines Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center.

The resident's family filed notice of a potential lawsuit last year, but county officials did not know that investigators recently questioned nursing home employees in connection with her 2017 death.

County Attorney Eric Firkel told the newspaper nursing home protocols did not appear to have been followed when the resident fell in her room — suffering a traumatic brain injury and fractured collarbone — despite being helped by two certified nursing assistants.

Firkel said the county is “taking every step to assure the safety and quality of life of residents of the nursing home.”

The investigation is ongoing.