NY Nursing Home Abuse Investigation Yields Arrests

New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has announced the arrests of nursing home employees over charges of resident <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/nursing_home_negligence">neglect and abuse, Business First of Buffalo is reporting.  According to Business First, three employees were arrested and charged and a fourth has been convicted for “abusing elderly and ill patients.”

Cuomo announced the arrests yesterday, following a New York state-wide investigation into institutional care abuse and neglect said Buffalo First.  A prepared release stated that the acts involved “physically attacking and using racial slurs against an 86-year-old Alzheimer’s patient, slapping a 100-year-old patient in the face, and tying an elderly patient with dementia to a chair for two consecutive nights.”  In the release, Cuomo said his “office remains committed to protecting the vulnerable and defenseless by uncovering and prosecuting alleged abuses at nursing homes across the state,” noting that elderly New Yorkers deserve better “than to endure suffering at the hands of those entrusted with their care.”

The four involved are Corey Austin, 28; Jeffrey Perry, 23; Patricia Penman, 57; and Jeanette Sovereign, 45.  Austin, a certified nurse aide, was terminated last February from the Gowanda Nursing Home after what Buffalo First described as a violent encounter with a patient.  WIVB.com reported that, according to court papers, Austin used racial slurs and attacked the patient, repeatedly pushing him to the floor and pinning him to his bed with his knee in the patient’s back.  Austin was convicted of two misdemeanors—one a Class A—for endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person and for willful violation of health laws, said Buffalo First; Austin faces a maximum two-year jail term when he is sentenced next month.

Perry, another certified nurse aide is accused of tying an elderly resident to a chair with a belt for two nights at the Gowanda Nursing Home; the patient suffers from dementia, reported Buffalo First.  WIVB reported that, according to court records, the resident was found alone, tied to a chair, and in the dark.  Perry was charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person and willful violation of health laws, reported WIVB.

Sovereign, a licensed practical nurse, said Buffalo First, was at the facility at the time of the crime and is accused of knowing that the incident occurred but not reporting it.  WIVB reported that Sovereign was charged with willful violation of health laws.

The investigation led to the arrest of a certified nurse aide who stomped on an 84-year-old female resident of Kaleida Health Deaconess Skilled Nursing Facility said Buffalo First.  The resident was lying in a fetal position noted WIVB.  Also, a certified nurse aide was sentenced for stealing $8,000 from a 97-year-old resident at The Waters of Orchard Park nursing home in Orchard Park, said Buffalo First.  In that case, notes WIVB, the money was stolen to pay a cocaine debt.  The investigations continue, utilizing hidden camera technology and have, to date, led to the arrests or convictions of over 47 nursing home employees, reported Buffalo First.

Penman, a certified nurse aide, is accused of physically abusing a 100-year-old female resident from the Rosa Coplon Jewish Home and Infirmary.  The woman suffers from dementia, physical disabilities, and is unable to self-care, said WIVB.com, which added that Penman slapped the woman in the face.  WIVB reported that Penman is charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person and willful violation of health laws.

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