Wrongful death suit filed in veterans home COVID-19 death

Big Island attorney Jeffrey Foster has filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of the sons of the late Chris Drayer, who died after contracting COVID-19 at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home.

The suit, filed this morning in Hilo Circuit Court, names Noah Bennett-Drayer and Daniel Bennett-Drayer as plaintiffs. Among the defendants are Avalon Health Care, several affiliates and Avalon Regional Vice President for Hawaii Tina Irwin.

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According to the filing, Drayer, 70, of Volcano, died Sept. 2 at the Hilo veterans home.

He was a decorated veteran of the U.S. Army who served two tours in Vietnam and was awarded numerous medals and commendations for his service.

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The suit seeks a jury trial and damages to be proven at trial, as well as court costs.

“Chris Drayer did not deserve to die at Yukio,” Foster said in a news release. “He died because Avalon failed to keep him safe. It is beyond belief that nearly six months after the onset of the worst pandemic in 100 years, a facility caring for the most vulnerable members of our community could fail to practice the most basic of protections for its residents. What the Avalon companies have done at Yukio represents a systemic failure to institute and follow established policies, practices and procedures that care facilities around the country have utilized to protect vulnerable residents.”

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