Two nurses' aides allegedly neglected to follow resident's care plan, allegedly falsified documents to conceal negligence, according to today's allegations
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrest of two employees of Erie County Medical Center Skilled Nursing Facility (now known as Terrace View Long Term Care Facility) in Buffalo, following an investigation into their treatment of a nursing home resident. The investigation, which relied on a hidden camera placed in the patient's room, revealed an alleged pattern of neglect. The two nursing assistants are charged with a variety of felony and misdemeanor counts in Buffalo City Court.
"Nursing home residents are among our state's most vulnerable citizens, and the neglect that the victim in this case suffered is reprehensible," Schneiderman said. "Today's arrests send a clear message that my office will not tolerate anyone being neglected by those responsible for their care, and we will use every tool in our arsenal, including hidden cameras, to ensure that those most in need of help are safely cared for and treated with respect and dignity."
The victim in this case, identified in court papers only as "MH" in order to protect her privacy, is a 79-year-old resident who suffers from Alzheimer's disease and dementia. She is non-ambulatory and totally dependent on nursing staff of the facility, located at 462 Grider St., for her care.
As alleged in the felony complaint, video footage recorded by the attorney general's office revealed Donna Laury, 48, and Nakeia Green, 35, both certified nurses' aides from Buffalo, violated the resident's personal care plan by failing to use two people when performing incontinence care, and failing to use a mechanical lift to transfer the resident. On occasions when the aides did use a mechanical lift, they allegedly failed to use two people to operate it. The aides then allegedly falsified documents in an effort to conceal their neglect.
The nurses' aides are charged with falsifying business records in the first degree (class E felony), endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person (class A misdemeanor) and willful violation of public health laws (unclassified misdemeanor). A class E felony carries a prison sentence of up to four years.
Schneiderman thanked the Erie County Medical Center Corp. for its cooperation and assistance with this investigation.
The charges are merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
The case was investigated by investigators Katie O'Neill and Scott Barnes, and former Supervising Special Auditor/Investigator Raymond August, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Buffalo Regional Chief Kathleen Donahue and MFCU Deputy Chief Investigator William Falk. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Thomas N. Schleif of the MFCU Buffalo Regional Office. Gary A. Baldauf is the regional director of the MFCU Buffalo Regional Office. Catherine Wagner is the chief of criminal investigations-upstate. Acting MFCU Director Amy Held leads the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan leads the Division of Criminal Justice.