Nurse's Aide Admits To Abusing Two Incompetent Patients At Long Island Nursing Home

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that Susan Santana, a certified nurse's aide at the Westhampton Care Center on Long Island, admitted to physically abusing two elderly female patients in her care.

Appearing earlier this week in Southampton Town Court before Judge Barbara L. Wilson, Santana pleaded guilty to two counts of Attempted Wilful Violation of Health Laws in satisfaction of the charges pending against her since June. Santana was immediately sentenced to a conditional discharge, requiring that she surrender her nurse's aide certificate and refrain from seeking or accepting employment in the health care industry - including any work involving incompetent people.

"We have no tolerance for those who abuse the frail elderly," said Spitzer. "This conviction sends a clear message to all health care workers that my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit will continue to aggressively ferret out such criminal activity."

On February 10, 1999, Santana abused an 82-year-old patient, suffering from dementia, by dragging her across the floor of her room and then lifting the patient and throwing her into the bed. Santana ignored the patient's care plan, which required two persons to assist the patient whenever she is moved. Three days later, Santana struck a 76-year-old patient, suffering from organic brain syndrome, on the hand.

Susan Santana, 37, lives at 821 East Main Street in Riverhead. She was employed as a certified nurse's aide at Westhampton Care Center, located at 78 Old Country Road in Westhampton, from September 17, 1997, to February 23, 1999.

The case was prosecuted by Veronica Bindrim-MacDevitt, of the Long Island Regional Office of Attorney General Spitzer's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. All cases are handled under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jos? Maldonado.