In a case that should never have been brought, the state attorney general did the right thing Monday and dismissed the charge against nurse Donna Palmer, the former director of nurses at a skilled nursing facility.
The deputy AG prosecuting the case threw in the towel after the jury split 9-3 for acquittal and a mistrial was declared.
This was a five-year-old case involving an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s who was being cared for at home by her elderly husband, who had some serious medical issues himself. When she was brought to Marshall Hospital her condition was especially serious. The hospital dealt with that and she was transferred to the convalescent center. The allegation was that apparently the condition reappeared, though her chart did not reflect that.
Something was amiss somewhere, though the director of nursing could only rely on her staff and the patient charts.
The charge brought by the AG was elder abuse. It was a criminal trial and required proof beyond a shadow of doubt, which clearly the state failed to do even with this catch-all category.
Justice was served by the state declining to attempt a retrial.