Nurse's Aide Charged With 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, was charged with physically abusing two elderly female patients in her care.

Appearing for arraignment today in Southampton Town Court, Santana has been charged with two counts of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent Person and two counts of Wilful Violation of Health Laws. If convicted, she faces up to two years in prison.

"We have no tolerance for those who abuse the frail elderly," said Spitzer. "This arrest sends a clear message to all health care workers that my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit will aggressively prosecute those who mistreat patients in their care."

Santana is accused of abusing an 82-year-old patient, suffering from dementia, on February 10, 1999, by dragging her across the floor of her room and then lifting the patient and throwing her into the bed. Santana not only ignored the patient's care plan, which requires two persons to assist the patient whenever she is moved, but she could have seriously injured the patient through her actions. It is also charged that 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 Attorney General thanked the State Health Department for initially referring the matter to his Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. He also thanked the Westhampton Care Center for its cooperation during the investigation.

The prosecution is being handled by Veronica Bindrim-MacDevitt, of the Hauppauge, 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.

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

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