OSSIPEE — An Ossipee woman claims Carroll County government is guilty of "reckless conduct" for failing to keep the walkway to the Mountain View Community nursing home in Ossipee free of ice that she said posed a significant safety hazard for people visiting residents at the home.
On Nov. 22, Ann Olkkola filed suit in Carroll County Superior Court, claiming the county is responsible for injuries she suffered in 2016 when she fell on the icy walkway on a visit to her dying father.
Olkkola, 77, is represented by attorneys Scott Harris and Christina Denbow of McLane Middleton in Manchester.
According to the lawsuit, at about 2 a.m. on Nov. 26, 2016, Olkkola was informed that her father, Joseph F. Wiley, was likely to die soon. He died the following day at the age of 99.
Olkkola went to the nursing home at 6:30 a.m. to be at her father's side. She went home to shower and call family members, then returned to the nursing home, parking near the entrance.
It had rained two days earlier, and Olkkola noted that the morning was also "cold and wet." Within "a very few steps," she fell.
A subsequent MRI of her shoulder revealed a torn rotator cuff. She had surgery on her shoulder the following April.
Olkkola said as a result of the injury she suffered from "pain, lost sleep, lost mobility and lost time at work," among other things.
Her lawsuit claims that "it was reckless, or at least grossly negligent, for Mountain View and Carroll County to limit its clearance of the icy conditions present in the early morning hours of Nov. 26, 2016, to only part of the walkway easily reached from near the warmth of indoors.
"Those who frequent the Mountain View are typically older and therefore more susceptible to falls with the consequence of those falls very serious. With minimal care, this incident, with its highly negative consequences for Olkkola, could have been avoided."
The suit says Howard Chandler, nursing home administrator, said that the county through its insurer Primex would be in touch with the medical providers who treated Olkkola.
"Olkkola does not know if this contact occurred," states the suit, adding that she seeks a jury trial, damages, attorneys' fees and other relief.
Olkkola is a familiar name in Carroll County politics. Ann is the widow of former Carroll County Commissioner Peter Olkkola, who advocated building the new facility as he campaigned for a seat on the board of county commissioners in 2006 and was also known for being an advocate for governmental transparency.
At the September 2011 ribbon cutting for the Mountain View Community nursing home, then-commissioner chairman David Sorensen praised Peter Okkola, who had died at 69 in 2009, as being a proponent of the project.
In 2010, friends, politicians and county employees petitioned to name a room in the building for Olkkola.