Recently, five former health care workers at a nursing home facility were convicted of several crimes in connection with the death of a 72 year old rehabilitation patient. A respiratory therapist and three nurses were sentenced to various jail terms and probation for the attempted cover–up of the circumstances surrounding the patient’s death. In addition, another respiratory therapist entrusted with the patient’s care was convicted of criminally negligent homicide.
Aurelia Rios had gone to the Medford Multicare Center for Living, Inc. for rehabilitation purposes. While there, she required the use of a ventilator to aid in respiration. However, the respiratory therapist had not read the doctor’s instructions and neglected to connect the ventilator when Rios had gone to sleep. Evidence shown at jury trial demonstrated that Rios’s respiratory and cardiac alarms had gone off when she stopped breathing, but that the therapist and the nurses ignored the activated alarms and the messages sent to their pagers. Staff waited two hours before responding to Rios who had been dead for a considerable amount of time. Additionally, surveillance footage showed two occasions when the respiratory therapist walked by Rios’s room, ignoring the alarms signifying respiratory distress.
The employees proceeded to both falsify nursing notes and conceal computer records in connection to the incident. Further, none of the staff reported to the New York State Department of Health as required by law.
Among the charges the nursing staff were found guilty of include:
- Falsifying Business Records
- Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person
- Willful Violation of Health Laws
Three former aides pled guilty to charges arising from the same occurrence. The Medford facility corporation’s owner will also be sentenced to seven days in jail on two counts of Falsifying Business Records and Willful Violation of Health Laws.
In addition to the criminal charges, the New York State Attorney General filed a civil lawsuit, charging the corporation with corporate looting and fraud related to a history of criminal activity conducted by the corporation’s employees.
If you or a loved one has experienced nursing home neglect or abuse, contact an attorney immediately who can protect and advise you of your legal rights. The Law Offices of Tanya Hobson-Williams is dedicated to fighting for the rights of the elderly and vulnerable and has successfully handled numerous cases concerning nursing home abuse and neglect. For more information, call the Law Offices of Tanya Hobson-Williams toll free at (866) 825-1529 or (718) 210-4744.