- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 18, 2007

CINCINNATI (AP) - The family of a woman found dead outside the assisted living center where she was staying is suing the center, saying nurses noticed that the woman wasnt in her apartment but didnt look for her until the next morning.

The family says the woman died while she was locked outside in the cold for 14 hours.

The body of Shirley Galvin, 78, was found about 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 23 outside the rear entrance of Sunrise assisted living center in Springfield Township near Cincinnati. The low that morning was 28 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. The Hamilton County coroners office has said the cause of death wont be released until later this week.

The lawsuit filed Friday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court said Mrs. Galvin went missing about 7:30 the night before. It said nurses noticed she was missing but didnt search for her until morning.

“It was clear from a view of the outside that Mrs. Galvin had made attempts to regain entry to the building, that her footsteps were in the snow and she was unable to retain entry to the building,” the complaint said.

The family accuses the center of wrongful death, negligence and breach of contract and seeks unspecified damages.

Sunrise, based in McLean, has not seen a copy of the lawsuit and cant comment on details of the incident while an investigation is ongoing, spokesman Jamison Gosselin said Saturday.

“We plan to vigorously defend ourselves,” he said.

The death shook up and deeply saddened both residents and staff, Mr. Gosselin said.

“It was an unusual event that happened there,” he said. “It was very traumatic for them.”

Mrs. Galvin had lived at the center, where residents need some help with daily activities but dont require skilled nursing care, since she was hurt in a car crash last summer. Her husband, who also lived there, died in December.

“What happened to my mother has affected our entire family,” said Susan Weber, Mrs. Galvins daughter, who filed the lawsuit. “I also want to make sure that the same tragedy doesnt happen to anyone elses loved one.”

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