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Post date: December 7 2001

Nurse Admits To Patient Neglect And Cover-up At Monroe County Nursing Home

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that Julie Wannamaker, a licensed practical nurse at the Lakeside Beikirch Care Center in Brockport, has admitted to unlawfully withholding medication from four elderly patients, and then falsifying their charts to cover up her neglect.

Appearing last night in Sweden Town Court before Judge Mark Depferd, Wannamaker pleaded guilty to one count of Wilful Violation of the Public Health Laws in satisfaction of the charges pending against her. Wannamaker also agreed to surrender her nursing license.

Judge Depferd set sentencing for January 30, 2002, at which time Wannamaker faces up to one year in prison.

"Wannamaker was entrusted with the care of some of our most vulnerable citizens, and failed in her duties and responsibilities to care for them," said Spitzer. "This conviction sends a clear message to all health care workers that my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit will continue to protect the elderly."

According to prosecutors, Wannamaker neglected four patients, ranging in age from 76 to 98, on January 22nd by failing to provide them with their prescribed medications - including Lardopa and Permax (Parkinson's disease); Zyprexa (an anti-psychotic drug); Zoloft (an anti-depressant drug); Remeron and Risperdol (used for treating agitation and anxiety); and Trental (for arterial disease). To conceal her crimes, Wannamaker falsely wrote in the patients' charts that she had provided the medications.

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

Wannamaker, 51, lives at 15943 East Transit Church Road in Albion. She has been a licensed practical nurse for 29 years, and worked at the Lakeside Beikirch Care Center, located at 170 West Avenue in Brockport, from October 31, 2000, to January 23, 2001. She was arrested earlier this week.

Special Assistant Attorney General Timothy McFarland, of the Rochester Regional Office of the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, prosecuted the case. All cases are handled under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jos? Maldonado.