Yesterday’s New York Times featured this devastating front-page piece by Michael Corkery and Jessica Silver-Greenberg on a Boston area tragedy.
A Nursing Home Murder and a Family’s Arbitration Fight
Elizabeth Barrow celebrated her 100th birthday at a backyard gathering with her son and three grandchildren in the coastal Massachusetts town where she raised her family and cooked lunches in a school cafeteria.
A month later, in September 2009, Mrs. Barrow was found dead at a local nursing home, strangled and suffocated, with a plastic shopping bag over her head. The killer, the police said, was her 97-year-old roommate.
Workers at the nursing home, Brandon Woods in South Dartmouth, Mass., had months earlier described the roommate in patient files as being “at risk to harm herself or others.”
After a police inquiry, the roommate — despite her age and dementia — was charged with murder. The authorities did not focus on the nursing home, though. Brandon Woods claims that, except for some minor arguments, the two women got along nicely. When the roommate was deemed unfit to stand trial and committed to a state hospital, the sensational case that shocked this corner of New England essentially disappeared.
Until the Times unearthed it yesterday, that is.
Mrs. Barrow’s son, Scott, has been trying to hold Brandon Woods accountable for the past six years. According to the Times piece, “Mr. Barrow was barred from taking Brandon Woods to court in 2010 because his mother’s contract with the nursing home contained a clause that forced any dispute, even one over wrongful death, into private arbitration.”
But next month a Massachusetts state court will hear his case against Brandon Woods in “a crucial test of a legal strategy to prevent nursing homes across the country from requiring their residents to go to arbitration, where there is no judge or jury and the proceedings are hidden from public scrutiny.”
And the Times had the story – which is staggering and wide-ranging – before the local dailies did.
To be fair graf goes here.
To be fair, the Boston Globe did pick up the Times piece in its Business section yesterday.
But still – a bit of a Boston beatdown, eh?