A surveillance camera located in the dining room of Victory Lake Nursing Center in Hyde Park, NY, caught a licensed practical nurse (LPN) allegedly slapping an 83-year-old wheelchair-bound woman with dementia, according to an article.
The complaint alleges that on Sept. 3, 2013, the resident was slapped by Maria Fernandez, 53, when she argued with an aide, who was removing her meal tray. In addition to dementia, the resident has other health conditions that make her dependent on others for her care. Fernandez no longer works at the facility.
After the case was investigated by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Fernandez was charged with one count of endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, a felony, and one count of willful violation of health laws, a misdemeanor. At her arraignment on Dec. 9, Fernandez pleaded not guilty and was released on her own recognizance.
“Our healthcare workers have a basic legal duty to provide a safe and secure living environment for those who cannot care for themselves,” said New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman in a statement, adding that abuse of vulnerable citizens will not be tolerated and criminal charges will be pursued, when appropriate.