Montana Woman Charged with Felony Elder Abuse of Veterans

June 3, 2013

Nursing home abuse lawyers at Pintas & Mullins report that an Eastern Montana Veteran's Home employee was recently charged with four counts of felony elder abuse in relation to her care of patients at the facility.

320458333_3d973756ac.jpg The 57-year-old employee has worked at the Veteran's Home in Glendive for about five years, with the alleged abuse occurring between October 2012 and January 2013. All of victims are residents over the age of 60. The charges stem from complains made by the facility's director of nursing, who notified the Glendive Police Department after receiving multiple e-mails from other employees reporting the abuse.

The woman is a certified nurse who was hired through the Montana Health Network, a temp agency for health care workers. She was usually assigned to the wing with residents suffering from moderate to severe dementia. According to court documents, in one instance, the woman pinned a patient's arm to the bed using her full weight, then put her hand over his mouth, telling him to "shut up."

On a second incident recorded in court documents, the nurse slapped a patient while changing his clothes. She is also accused of twisting the resident's arm behind his back, making him fall to his knees. She proceeded to force him to remain on the floor in the kneeling position for an extended amount of time. Other staff members ultimately found him hiding behind a reclining chair, with his skin torn on the arm she had twisted.

In a fourth incident, the woman allegedly punched a resident in his forearm while attempting to put him into bed. According to the court documents the patient took a swing at the nurse, after which he pulled her arm back, made a fist, and punched him in the arm, asking him how he liked it.

The nurse agreed to a recorded interview with the police, during which she admitted to being under a lot of stress, stating that she never meant to hurt anyone. She went on to tell police that there was a fine line in dealing with veterans at an assisted living facility, saying that their care was challenging and she was unaware of what exactly was considered abuse.

In Montana, the maximum penalty for elder abuse is a $10,000 fine along with ten years in prison. The Eastern Montana Veteran's Home is managed by Glendive Medical Center, the CEO of which recently told reporters that the facility adopts a zero-tolerance abuse policy.

In related news in Wisconsin, Milton police recent arrested a man hired as a caregiver for the elderly on charges of felony abuse. The 35-year-old man was accused of endangering the man he was responsible with caring for. The victim, a 76-year-old man who was found in unclean conditions and with suspicious injuries, was recently taken to and treated at Mercy Milton Medical Center. In responding to a 911 call, police found the victim had fallen off his bed and could not get back up. He was left by his caregiver in a soiled diaper and his bed linens were saturated in urine and feces.

Investigators determined he was left in this condition for at least 24 hours before police arrived. Police described the victim's condition as suspicious because he had numerous bone fractures, bruises and scratches consistent with abuse or trauma.

Elder abuse and neglect lawyers at Pintas & Mullins encourage anyone with knowledge or suspicion of abuse or exploitation of an elder to report it immediately. The most efficient way to bring the abusers to justice is through a senior abuse lawsuit. If you or a loved one was seriously injured by a caregiver, you may be entitled to significant compensation for past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.