Man Faces Criminal Trial for Nursing Home Abuse Charges

Former Caregiver Will Go to Trial for Criminal Nursing Home Abuse Charges

nursing home abuse chargesLast year, two Scranton, Pennsylvania caregivers who worked in a nursing home with an  elderly woman with Alzheimer’s were arrested with criminal nursing home abuse charges. Now, a judge has decided that at least one of the accused suspects will go to trial on the criminal nursing home abuse charges.

Joshua Wegielewski, who is only 24 years old, appeared in court on Friday afternoon for his arraignment. He and another suspect were arrested and charged on December 22nd based on accusations that he assaulted 76-year-old victim Joan Drewes and held her in the nursing home against her will. He is currently free on $10,000 bail.

Reportedly, the incident of nursing home abuse occurred on October 25th, and was caught on security cameras outside the victim’s room. Drewes suffered from Alzheimer’s, a type of dementia, and she sometimes, according to nursing home staff, packed her bags as if she were going to leave the facility. According to a former nursing assistant who worked at the facility, Carlos Aponte Jr, physically restraining a patient in order to prevent them from leaving the building is against the facility’s policy.

Video footage caught Wegielewski and co-defendant Catherine Cordaro grabbing the victim by the wrists and dragging her back into her room. They then shut the door so that she could not get out. Mr. Aponte also testified that Wegielewski claimed that Drewes slapped him in the face, at which time he threatened to hit her – verbal nursing home abuse – and also claimed that Wegielewski hit Drewes, which was not captured on camera.

Wegielewski’s attorney argued that the young nursing aide was trying to keep his charge safe from harm, and that in this instance, locking her in her room did not put her at risk of physical harm, but instead prevented it. However, prosecutors argued that, because Drewes suffers from dementia, “That emotional distress could cause a risk of serious bodily injury.”

“Not only did he restrain her in her room, but the way he grabbed her and forced her and pushed her into the room and caused her bruising was uncalled for,” said assistant district attorney Susan Price.

The judge agreed that there was enough evidence to send Wegielewski to trial for all the criminal charges, including nursing home abuse.

Signs of a History of Nursing Home Abuse in Your Loved Ones

Nursing home residents may suffer from physical, emotional, financial, and even sexual abuse by their caregivers (home caregivers, family member caregivers). In many cases, these elderly victims cannot communicate due to dementia or other health problems, which makes reporting caregiver or nursing home abuse especially difficult. However, your loved one may show some signs of potential nursing home abuse, and it is important to keep an eye on these problems and report them immediately.  Common signs and symptoms of abuse include:

  • bruises, welts, burns
  • unexplained fractures or other physical injuries
  • repeated accidents
  • injuries left untreated
  • references to caregiver’s temper or anger
  • nervous or quiet around caregiver
  • runs away from the home or tries to
  • has marks or scars from restraints on wrists
  • shows effects of chemical restraints such as incoherence, grogginess, excessive sleep
  • sudden fear, restlessness, anxiety
  • prevented from getting medical treatment or being alone with visitors
  • unexplained changes in behavior
  • withdrawal
  • unexplained weight gain or loss
  • sudden loss of interest in life
  • appearance of sudden demise of mental health
  • symptoms of extreme shock such as the development of tics: rocking, refusing to speak
  • isolation

The Strom Law Defends Victims of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

If your loved one has physically suffered, or died wrongfully, due to neglect or abuse in a nursing home, you may have a nursing home abuse case. The South Carolina Nursing Home attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand the sensitive nature of elder abuse cases, and will treat you with respect and compassion. It is important to fight elder abuse so you, your family, and others no longer suffer because of criminal behavior. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today for help. 803.252.4800

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