Nursing home residents are among the most dependent members of our society. Their fragile health leaves them vulnerable to many kinds of harm, including both neglect and intentional abuse from those who are charged with caring for them. Residents and their families have a right to enlist an attorney to seek money damages when mistreatment has occurred.
When the actionable conduct rises to the level of a crime, the State may also file criminal charges. In an April 28 press release, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that a certified nurse aide is being charged criminally as a result of her alleged abuse of a nursing home resident.
The Charges as Alleged by the State
According to the State, the aide became so frustrated with a resident of the Valley Health Services that she struck the patient. She is charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person in the first degree and a willful violation of the public health law. Valley Health Services is located in in the foothills of the Adirondacks near Utica. It is a 160-bed facility that provides both long-term care and short-term rehabilitation.
If convicted, the aide could face up to a year in jail for the public health law violation and as much as three years in prison for the endangering the welfare charge. Alternatively, she could receive probation of three years and five years, respectively.
The Second Defendant
During Valley Health Services’ investigation of the incident, other employees were apparently questioned about what had occurred. According to the State, one of these employees made a false statement. He is criminally accused of falsifying business records in the first degree. He could be punished with as much as three years in prison or five years probation.He also allegedly failed to promptly report an incident of patient abuse as required by law. If convicted of a willful violation of the public health law, he faces up to a year in jail or up to three years on probation.
The Attorney General’s press release notes that, at this point, the charges against the two defendants are mere accusations. The defendants have a right to a trial by jury, and the State must prove all elements of the alleged crimes beyond a reasonable doubt before the defendants can be convicted.
It is not known whether the victim of these alleged crimes will purse a civil action against those responsible.
To Speak to a New York Nursing Home Attorney
If you have a loved one in a New York long-term care facility and are concerned that he or she may have suffered abuse, negligect, or other mistreatment, you owe it to your family member to talk to an attorney about your suspicions. To speak to one of the experienced nursing home attorneys at Duffy & Duffy, call (516) 394-4200 to schedule an appointment. We are currently reviewing cases in the Long Island area, including the Bronx, Queens, and Nassau County. Many cases are accepted on a contingency fee basis.
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