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Medical malpractice: Nurse's aide accepts deal in abuse case

The vast majority of families in New Jersey are dedicated to protecting the safety of their loved ones. For many, this involves finding an appropriate placement at a long-term care facility. Unfortunately, many find that medical malpractice in the form of abuse and neglect means that their loved ones' physical and emotional needs are not being met. Unfortunately, one out-of-state family was reportedly disappointed when abuse allegations against a nurse's aide resulted in a plea deal.

The case involved a 36-year-old female nurse's aide. A man initially became concerned about the aide after his father -- a resident at a nursing home facility who was under the woman's care -- made complaints. As a result, the son hid a motion-detected camera in the room. Footage reportedly revealed several instances of concern, including the aide forcing the patient to clean himself after an accident and then rubbing the rag in his face. Other concerning instances included the aide making what appeared to be a punching motion followed by the sounds of the man moaning.

The worker was facing two felony charges in connection to the footage, including aggravated battery to a person older than 60. While the attorney general was initially enthusiastic about the charges, she claims that there were several issues surrounding the case, including a state law that requires written notification if a surveillance camera is going to be installed in a long-term care facility. Additionally, the man's son claims that because he had over 100 hours of footage, he only turned over relevant footage; this decision was also problematic. As a result, a plea deal was proposed.

As part of the deal, the nurse must perform 100 hours of community service and write a letter of apology to the man's family. She is additionally prohibited from working in a healthcare job for at least a year. Unfortunately, the man's family is left with guilt over their decision to place him in a facility that left him susceptible to medical malpractice due to a worker's abuse. In order to prevent similar instances of abuse in the future, many families in New Jersey choose to file a civil lawsuit. A successfully presented lawsuit could result in a monetary award but could also prompt changes that would put additional protections in place.

Source: NBC Chicago, "Nurse Aide Captured on Video Pleads to Misdemeanor", Kate Kim and Lisa Capitanini, June 27, 2017

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