Nurse's Aide Arrested For Abusing An Infirm Elderly Patient At Chenango County Nursing Home

Attorney General Spitzer today announced the arrest of a certified nurse's aide for striking a 76-year-old female patient at an Oxford nursing home last month.

Darlene E. Leech, a nurse's aide at the New York State Home for Veterans and Their Dependants, is charged with slapping the patient across the face on July 12th in order to get her to stop crying while Leech was attending to her. The patient, who suffers from a variety of maladies, including congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is unable to care for herself.

"Abusive acts by health care professionals against our elderly and most vulnerable residents will not be tolerated," said Spitzer. "We are committed to vigorously prosecuting those who abuse the patients in their care."

Leech, 44, of 845 County Road 36 in Guilford, was arraigned late last week in Town of Oxford Justice Court before Judge Janice W. Davis. She is charged with one count of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person and one count of Wilful Violation of the Public Health Law. If convicted, she faces up to one year in prison.

Spitzer thanked the State Health Department for referring the matter to his office. He also thanked the staff and administration of the facility for their assistance and cooperation during the investigation.

New York State Home for Veterans and Their Dependants is located at 4211 State Highway 220 in Oxford. Leech worked at the facility from November 1989 until her termination shortly after the incident. Special Assistant Attorney General Norman S. Hatt, of the Syracuse Regional Office of the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, is prosecuting the case. All cases are handled under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jos? Maldonado.

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