Six employees and a contract worker at Whetstone Gardens and Care Center in Columbus have been indicted on a number of charges involving two neglected nursing home residents.
Two employees and the contract worker have been indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter in relation to two patients in 2017. The other four employees were indicted on a total of 34 charges after one patient died as a result of neglect and another patient suffered physical harm.
In February 2017, a male patient is believed to have suffered serious neglect after wounds turned gangrenous. The patient was taken to a hospital but passed away from septic shock in early March, when the infection led to dangerously low blood pressure.
Around the same time, a female patient, who is now deceased, did not receive care that the nurses had documented. It was discovered the records were forged when signatures indicated care had been provided at times when the patient wasn’t present in the facility.
The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigated the neglect allegations of the female patient after the patient’s daughter made a phone call regarding the care her mother was receiving. After the investigation, which was completed in April 2017, it was discovered that the female patient, as well as an additional 122 residents, were at risk for serious harm. The facility was ordered to address the problems immediately. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services fined Whetstone Gardens and Care Center $98,765.45.
The following individuals are the seven that have been indicted:
- Sandra Blazer, 55, of Grover City, assistant director of nursing, on counts of involuntary manslaughter, patient neglect, gross patient neglect, tampering with evidence, and forgery
- Jessica Caldwell, 30, of the Southeast Side, floor nurse and unit manager, on counts of involuntary manslaughter, patient neglect, and gross patient neglect
- Akosua Ayarkwa, 29, of the Northeast Side, floor nurse, on counts of forgery and gross patient neglect
- Sheila Dains, 53, of Logan, floor nurse, on counts of forgery and gross patient neglect
- Illuminee Muhongere, 48, of the Northeast Side, a floor nurse, on counts of forgery
- Maegan Van Syckle, 39, of Westerville, floor nurse, on counts of forgery and gross patient neglect
- Kimberly Potter, 53, of Delaware, contacted nurse practitioner, on counts of involuntary manslaughter, patient neglect, and gross patient neglect
Four of the employees who were indicted have been fired and two others are suspended as the legal matter progresses. A spokesperson from the facility, Ryan Stubenrauch, stated several other employees who were involved with the care of the two neglected patients have also been fired.
At Thomas Law Offices, we believe all nursing home residents in Ohio deserve the best care possible to promote a high quality of life. When a negligent facility or abusive staff members place your loved one in harm’s way, we have the ability to take legal action against the wrongdoers in an attempt to seek justice for what abuse and injuries occurred. If you believe your loved one has suffered wrongfully in their nursing home, we can help you take action on their behalf. Contact us for more information.