Baker Hires Attorney For Independent Investigation Of Deaths At Holyoke Soldiers' Home

Gov. Charlie Baker is hiring a former federal prosecutor to investigate the state-run veterans home and medical facility in Holyoke, where at least 13 residents died during an outbreak of the coronavirus.

"We hired Mark Pearlstein ... to conduct an independent investigation as to what happened, when it happened — and what didn’t happen and when it didn’t happen — leading up to the discovery on Sunday night as to what the state of play was there," Baker said during a press conference in Worcester Wednesday afternoon.

Pearlstein will conduct an independent investigation of Soldiers' Home and "the events that led to the recent tragic deaths," with a focus on organizational oversight and management, according to a statement from the governor's office.

Pearlstein formerly served as chief of the U.S. Attorney's office economic crimes unit in Boston and the first assistant U.S. attorney, according to the governor's statement. He is currently a partner at McDermott, Will & Emery law firm.

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse said Tuesday that at least eight of the deaths at Soldier's Home last week were not reported to city of state officials. At least five other veterans living there have since died. An additional 10 residents and seven staff members have tested positive for the virus, and 25 others await test results.

The director of Central Hampshire Veterans Services, Steve Connor, told WBUR Tuesday that he's had longstanding worries about conditions at the home, including concerns over patient care and staffing levels.

This article was originally published on April 01, 2020.


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