Five former employees of the Medford Multicare Center for Living, Inc. that were found guilty of nursing home abuse have been sentenced to jail, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced. In July, the former nursing home staff members were found guilty at trial in Suffolk County Court. The ex-employees, which include two respiratory therapists and three nurses, were sentenced for their role in the 2012 death of a 72-year-old woman who died under their care, and their attempts to cover up the circumstances.
The resident was admitted to Medford Multicare to be rehabilitated for a respiratory condition. Under her doctor’s orders, she was to be connected to a ventilator while asleep. At trial, one of the staff members admitted to never doing this because she did not read the order. On the night of the woman’s death, evidence shows that staff ignored alarms for two hours signaling respiratory and cardiac distress. They also ignored messages to their pagers after the woman stopped breathing. Video surveillance shows staff within proximity of the alarms and in view of monitor displaying alarms, but doing nothing.
To make matters worse, evidence shows the staff tried to cover-up the negligence by lying in nursing notes and concealing records from a Department of Health investigator. The records show that staff failed to address the alarms signaling that the resident has stopped breathing.
“The sentences announced today bring justice to the family of Aurelia Rios, the mother of three and the grandmother of eleven,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Medical staff at Medford Multicare undertook the responsibility to care for Mrs. Rios and help her rehabilitate. Instead, the juries found that she was neglected and that the Defendants covered-up the true cause of her death, depriving the Rios family for almost three years the truth about what happened to their mother. This trial has put an end to the lies about what happened at Medford Multicare and is another example of how my office will continue to hold accountable those who neglect and those who fail to immediately and truthfully report the neglect of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Earlier this year, the Attorney General filed a separate civil suit against the owners of Medford Multicare. The suit accuses the owners of corporate looting and fraud. The allegations stem from a long history of criminal activity among employees, and continuous evidence of neglect.