Two New York Nurse Aides Face Jailtime For Abusing Elderly Patients

New York, NY (January 16, 2007) -- Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that in separate trials, state prosecutors secured two convictions of Certified Nurse Aides for abusing elderly patients in their care.

"Medical personnel who care for the frail, sick or elderly are trusted with an awesome responsibility," Cuomo said. "Those who violate this trust by abusing patients will be prosecuted."

On January 12, 2007, Judge Suzanne J. Melendez of the Queens Criminal Court sentenced Patrice Walker to 60 days in jail. Patrice Walker, 53, formerly employed at the Hollis Park Nursing Home in Queens, New York, had been charged with felony and misdemeanor Endangering charges, a misdemeanor charge of Willful Violation of the Public Health Law, and a felony charge of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree. In October 2006, Walker pled guilty to Attempted Falsification of Business Records in the First Degree, a class A misdemeanor, in satisfaction of all of the charges.

According to the complaint, Walker mistreated an 80-year-old nursing home resident, and then tried to cover-up that mistreatment. The complaint alleged that on September 20, 2005, Walker attempted to move the resident without a mechanical lift and without the assistance of a second nurse or aide, despite knowing these were required because of the resident's frail condition. In fact, the complaint alleged that Walker had twice been reprimanded for improper transfers that injured two residents. As a result of Walker's improper transfer of the patient, the resident suffered a broken leg and lacerations to the side and back of her head which required 14 staples to repair.

The complaint further alleged that Walker failed to immediately notify others that the resident had been injured during the improper transfer -- which delayed treatment -- and then falsely reported that the resident was injured when she and another nursing home employee had transferred the resident.

A day earlier, on January 11, 2007, a Rome City Court jury convicted Marilyn Chase, a Certified Nurse Aide, for willfully abusing an elderly female resident at the Rome Memorial Hospital Residential Health Care Facility.

The evidence at that trial showed that on August 6, 2005, Chase physically abused a 93-year-old woman who suffered from senile dementia, congestive heart failure, benign hypertension, and arthritis. It showed that after the resident became combative during routine care, Chase grabbed the victim's arthritic right hand and bent it towards the inside of her forearm until she screamed out in pain.

The jury convicted Chase of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person and Willful Violation of Health Laws. Judge Daniel C. Wilson, who presided at the two-day trial, set sentencing for February 23, 2007. Chase, 48, of Camden, New York, faces up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

Cassandra Bethel, Chief of the Patient Protection Section, prosecuted the Patricia Walker case, which was investigated by Senior Special Investigator Brian Dunne.

Special Assistant Attorney General Ralph D. Tortora, III, of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit's Syracuse Regional Office, prosecuted the Marilyn Chase case. Special Investigator Christopher M. Burns assisted in that investigation.