Nurse Charged With Patient Neglect And Cover-up At Queens Nursing Home

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that Aviolle Pierre, a licensed practical nurse who worked just one shift at a Flushing nursing home, has been arrested for unlawfully withholding medication from nearly a dozen elderly patients at the facility and then falsifying their charts to cover up her neglect.

As a per-diem nurse, Pierre accepted an assignment to work the evening shift (4:00 p.m. to midnight) at the Meadow Park Nursing Home on November 8, 1999. Among her duties was to administer prescribed medications to various patients. An investigation was begun the following day when a patient complained that she had not been given her eye medication the previous evening. It was determined that Pierre had neglected 11 patients by failing to dispense 23 prescribed medications, including Haldol (a tranquilizer), Coumadin (an anticoagulant), Sinemet (for the treatment of Parkinson's disease), and Isordil (for angina). To conceal her crime, Pierre falsely indicated in the patients' charts that the drugs had actually been given.

Pierre will be arraigned later today in Queens Criminal Court and charged with 23 counts of Wilful Violation of Health Laws and 23 counts of Falsifying Business Records in the Second Degree. If convicted, she faces up to one year in prison.

Spitzer said, "The defendant was entrusted with the care of our most vulnerable citizens, and she showed little concern for their well-being. It is obvious, based on her actions, that she should never again work with patients in a health care setting."

Deputy Attorney General Jos?? Maldonado, Director of Spitzer's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit said, "Today's ase is a glaring example of how understaffing at nursing homes can lead to serious problems. As a per-diem nurse who had never worked at the facility before, the defendant was placed in charge of a floor and given the responsibility of caring for more than forty patients. Fortunately, none of the patients suffered any ill effects because of her neglect. Nursing homes cannot cut staffing levels, hire per-diem workers, and not expect these decisions to impact the quality of patient care."

Pierre, 44, who recently became a registered nurse, lives at 457 Second Street in Elmont, New York. The Meadow Park Nursing Home is located at 78-10 164th Street in Flushing, Queens.

The Attorney General thanked the State Health Department for referring the matter to his office.

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Robert J. Goldstein, of the New York City Regional Office of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. All cases are handled under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jos?? Maldonado.

The charges against Pierre are accusations and she presumed innocent until proven guilty.