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Post date: December 17 2014

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Arrest Of Aide Accused Of Endangering Suffolk Nursing Home Resident

Certified Nurse Aide Claudia Desulme Charged With Attempting To Cover Up Unauthorized Transfer Of 92-Year-Old Resident That Resulted In Injury

Schneiderman: Our Healthcare Workers Must Be Held To Basic Standards Of Care

HAUPPAUGE — Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrest of Claudia Desulme, a certified nurse aide, on charges she endangered the welfare of a 92-year-old, wheelchair-bound resident of Huntington Hills Center for Health and Rehabilitation in Melville, N.Y. Court documents filed in the case allege Desulme illegally moved the resident from her wheelchair to her bed without the assistance of another staff person, as required by the resident’s care plan and that, as a result, the resident sustained a laceration to her right leg. In an attempt to cover up the illegal transfer, Desulme, and another uncharged aide, allegedly bandaged the wound and failed to report the injury. Desulme, who no longer works at the facility, faces multiple felony and misdemeanor charges and up to four years in prison. 

“Our healthcare workers have a basic duty to care for their patients, to keep them safe and not to injure them further,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “My office will bring criminal charges where it’s appropriate against those caregivers who hurt patients, who ignore the law and safety protocols.”  

A felony complaint filed in the Suffolk County First District Court by the Attorney General’s Office charges Desulme, 32, of Westbury, N.Y., with felony Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, misdemeanor  Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person, and misdemeanor Wilful Violation of Health Laws.  

The complaint alleges that on December 18, 2012, Desulme illegally moved the resident—who suffered from dementia and other ailments and who is totally dependent on others for care—from her wheelchair to her bed without the assistance of another staff person as required by the resident’s care plan at the nursing home, located at 400 South Service Road in Melville. As a result, the resident sustained a half-moon shaped laceration, approximately seven centimeters long, on her lower right leg. In an attempt to cover up the illegal transfer, Desulme, and the uncharged second aide, bandaged the wound and failed to report the injury. According to the complaint, when questioned by nursing home staff, Desulme lied multiple times in an attempt to conceal her crimes, claiming that another aide assisted with the transfer and that the patient was not injured.  

The defendant, who pled not guilty, was arraigned today in Suffolk County District Court before the Honorable Judge Paul Hensley and released on her own recognizance. 

Residents in nursing homes are provided with individual care plans to ensure their health and safety. Care plans include specific directions to staff about resident care. For example, when a resident’s mobility is severely limited, the care plan may direct that two staff members must assist when moving the resident from a wheelchair to a bed. 

The charges are accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.  

The case was investigated by Special Investigator Regina Hogan, with assistance from Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (“MFCU”) Hauppauge Regional Chief Investigator Greg Muroff.  

The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Megan Gallagher of the MFCU’s Hauppauge Regional Office. Jane Zwirn-Turkin is the Regional Director of the MFCU’s Hauppauge Region. The MFCU is led by Acting MFCU Director Amy Held. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.

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