Fatal Nursing Home Abuse Leads to Two Lawsuits for Facility

New York Facility Faces Criminal and Civil Charges for Felony Nursing Home Abuse

nursing home abuseSeven workers from a nursing home in Medford, New York were charged on Tuesday, February 11th with felony nursing home abuse and neglect charges related to the death and subsequent cover-up of a patient at the facility. The same day, a civil lawsuit was also filed against the facility.

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman alleges that the owners of the facility used funds, including public money, for personal gain while slashing costs as the Medford Multicare Facility. They reportedly “looted” close to $60 million over the past decade.

“Nursing home residents are among our state’s most vulnerable citizens,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “Today’s arrests and lawsuit send a message that we will not tolerate anyone being neglected or denied life-saving medical treatment while individuals line their own pockets with tens of millions of dollars that Medicaid intended to provide resident care.”

The felony nursing home abuse charges stemmed from the death of Aurelia Rios, a 72-year-old female resident. The woman “had likely been dead for some time” before a nurse’s aide finally responded to her alarm. Her call button had been ignored for more than two hours, according to reports.

Authorities believe that the resident died when staff failed to connect Rios to a ventilator machine at night, as per her doctor’s orders. One worker specifically, 61-year-old Kethlie Joseph, faces felony nursing home abuse charges including criminally negligent homicide. Reports state that Joseph failed to put the patient on the ventilator, and then ignored messages on her pager when the resident stopped breathing.

Rios had reportedly contracted pneumonia and after a hospital stay, her doctor had her transferred to the facility for a brief six-week stay while she recovered. Her family was shocked to learn that Rios passed away.

“It didn’t sit right with us,” Rios’ daughter, Michelle Giamarino, said. “I cried a lot, but now I’m very angry. … How can you be that negligent? That’s a life.”

Two of the facility’s administrators – 56-year-old David Fieldings, the center’s licensed administrator, and 49-year-old Christine Boylan, the director of respiratory therapy – were also arrested, on charges that they attempted to cover up the manslaughter.

Schneiderman said that, since 2003, 17 of the Medford Multicare Center’s employees had been convicted of neglect and falsification of records or covering up nursing home abuse and neglect. State officials have served the facility with 130 violations of state regulations, and administrators have reportedly failed to report 4,000 instances of nursing home abuse.

“Not only does the facility meet all safety protocols mandated by the state, it has a history of going beyond what is required,” said nursing home spokesman Hank Sheinkopf. “Over the past five years, the facility has done increasingly well on its Department of Health inspections, and on its most recent review last August, did not receive a single infraction.”

All arrested employees have been put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.

The Strom Law Defends Victims of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

If your loved one has faced nursing home abuse and neglect, you do not have to suffer in silence. Contact the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm for a free, confidential consultation. We are here to help. 803.252.4800.

Leave a Reply