Attorney General Cuomo Announces Charges Against Health Care Worker For Abusing Elderly Wheelchair-bound Resident In North Country Nursing Home

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 13, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced criminal charges against a former North Country health care worker for physically abusing an 88 year-old wheelchair-bound resident in a Franklin County Nursing Home that resulted in a broken clavicle and other injuries.

John Ette, 42 of Tupper Lake, was employed at the Adirondack Medical Center/Mercy Nursing Home in Tupper Lake. According to the complaint, Ette admitted to investigators with the Attorney General’s Office that while employed as a certified nurse aide in October 2008, he struck, grabbed, and pushed an 88 year-old bedridden woman who was suffering from dementia and impaired vision. Nursing home staff reporting to work the next morning noticed the resident’s extensive injuries and notified their superiors. In addition to suffering from severe facial bruising, the complaint alleges that the resident sustained a fractured right clavicle.

“Nursing home care must be administered with the respect and professionalism that New York’s seniors deserve,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “It is appalling when our dependent and vulnerable loved ones are victimized by the very people who are entrusted with their care.”

Ette is charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Vulnerable Elderly Person in the Second Degree (Class E Felony), Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person (Class A Misdemeanor), and Wilful Violation of Health Laws (Class A Misdemeanor). He was arraigned before Hon. Leonard Young in Tupper Lake Town Court and sent to the Franklin County Jail on $1,000 bail. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 4 years in prison.

The case is being prosecuted by Richard Harrow, director of Attorney General Cuomo’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s Albany Regional Office. Senior Special Investigator Paul F. Sheehan and Investigator Richard Ellison assisted with the investigation.

The charges against the defendant are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.