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Post date: August 6 2007

Nurse Charged With Restraining, Injuring Elderly Resident At Chautauqua County Nursing Home

ALBANY, NY (August 6, 2007) Agents of Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit arrested and arraigned a former nurse at Heritage Village Health Care Center in Gerry on charges she physically abused a resident.

Joyce Card, 48, of Lawson Road, Jamestown was arrested and arraigned before Judge Kevin Sirwatka in the Town of Gerry and charged with Willful Violation of Health Laws and Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person, both misdemeanors, for restraining and injuring the patient when he became combative in the course of receiving care.

“When a family entrusts a loved one to the care of a nursing home, they rightly expect courtesy, kindness and professionalism,” Attorney General Cuomo said. “When that bond of trust is violated, my office will go after perpetrators and stop them before they can hurt any more patients.”

Card worked at Heritage Village from August 2006 until February, when she resigned amid MFCU’s investigation. The patient is 93-years old and suffers from chronic kidney disease, dementia and severe depression. Staff were instructed that, should the patient become difficult, they were to leave him to calm down and reapproach him later.

On one occasion in February, Card and two other nurses were attending to the patient when he became agitated and resistant. Rather than leaving the room, Card held the patient’s arms across his chest, causing bruising and skin tears. Her actions were reported to the state Department of Health, which referred the case to the MFCU. Heritage Village cooperated fully with the investigation.

The charges are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty. Card was released on her own recognizance. No future court date has yet been set.

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Laurie Frank under the supervision of Special Deputy Attorney General Heidi Wendel, Chief of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Senior Special Investigator Kathleen P. Donahue contributed to the case.