NY Nursing Home Abuse Guilty Plea

In a horrible report detailing an incident of <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/nursing_home_negligence">nursing home abuse, LoHud wrote that a North Salem, New York nursing home aide tied an 83-year-old woman to her wheelchair with a bed sheet, deposited her in a common room, shut the lights out, and napped. The certified nurse’s aide napped for about one hour while the woman was tied to the chair.

According to LoHud, the incident took place at the Waterview Hills Rehabilitation and Nursing Home. Pierre Obas, 72, pleaded guilty to violating public health law involving the abuse, neglect, and mistreatment of a person, said LoHud, a misdemeanor offense. Obas was required to surrender his certification and is not allowed to work in a nurse’s aide capacity for a year from his April 27 sentencing said LoHud, citing court records.

“Think about this individual being put in a dark room. This is not what you do to a human being,” said Cynthia Rudder, director of special projects for watchdog group, the Long Term Care Community Coalition, quoted LoHud. The group “tracks enforcement actions against nursing homes and assisted-living facilities,” said LoHud. “How does an aide go into a common room, turn off the light, and nobody notices?” added Rudder. Obas was arrested in February.

The restrained resident was incapable of walking or self-care without assistance, said LoHud, citing the complaint, which was made to the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office. She asked for help a few times during the night and at 2:30 was tied, against her will, by Obas, said LoHud. It seems the home’s video recording set-up shows Obas pushing the elderly resident down a hallway and into a lounge; the resident also appears to be restrained with a bed sheet, reported LoHud. Restraints—used via a specific type of seat belt on wheelchairs—are used to prevent patients from sliding and require a doctor’s order; bed sheets are discouraged for such use because of suffocation and strangulation hazards, said LoHud.

A doctor’s order is required to place seat-belt restraints on wheelchairs to prevent a frail or disabled person from slipping off the chair. The use of bed sheets to restraint residents is highly discouraged due to a risk of suffocating and strangulation.

This is one of 10 actions against nursing home personnel in that region, reported LoHud, according to a list created by the Coalition in which an aide in Syracuse, New York was “found guilty of punching a 77-year-old resident in the mouth and stomach”; an aide in Utica, New York “slapped a 99-year-old resident in the face three times and once in the lower abdomen”; and two nursing home workers in Rome, New York “stole an 89-year-old resident’s diamond engagement ring and pawned it for $15,” said LoHud.

We’ve been following the widespread issue of nursing home abuse for some time. Last year, the former Bush administration finally published the names of 131 of the nation’s worst nursing homes. And, in a harrowing example of the widespread problem of abuse and negligence, last year, the family of a deceased Norwich, Connecticut man filed what is believed to be the first wrongful death lawsuit against officials at Connecticut’s largest nursing home chain: Haven Healthcare. The suit claimed that misappropriation of Haven funds by Chief Executive Officer Raymond Termini contributed to “deplorable conditions.”

When seniors are abused—emotionally, physically, financially, sexually, or through neglect—the risk of death increases by more than double, according a recent study, said Medicine Net recently.

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