David Kaproth, 47, of Poughkeepsie, New York, admitted before a judge in April 2014 that he knowingly withheld medication from a 73-year-old blind patient suffering from Alzheimer’s while employed as a licensed practical nurse at he Wingate Dutchess nursing facility in Fishkill, New York. Appearing before Fishkill Town Court Justice Robert Rahemba, Klaproth, who was fired from his position at the nursing home, pled guilty to one count of Wilful Violation of the Health Laws, a misdemeanor. As part of his plea deal, Klaproth agreed to surrender his nursing license, perform 100 hours of community service, as well as pay a $1,000 fine.
According to the initial criminal complaint, Klaproth was accused of not administering medications to two patients. The charges included two counts of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person, a class E felony, two counts of Falsifying Business Records, a class E felony, and Wilful Violation of Health Laws, a misdemeanor. The felony charges, which were dropped under the plea agreement, were punishable by up to four years in prison.
According to the Attorney General’s office, Klaproth, who was employed at the nursing home since 2007, was a licensed practical nurse responsible for administering medications to patients. On February 12, 2013, Klaproth was taking care of a blind, 73-year-old Alzheimer’s resident who also had a gastronomy tube. Such tubes, also referred to as gastric feeding tubes, bypass he mouth and throat and are used to administer nutrients and medications to dementia patients who have difficulty swallowing. Klaproth failed to administer hypertension medication, a protein supplement and a multivitamin through the patient’s tube even though they were ordered by the patient’s doctor. Klaproth then indicated in the resident’s medical chart that he did administer the required medications.
Commenting on Klaproth’s guilty plea, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman stated that his office is committed to preventing nursing home abuse and neglect. He stated, “Those who neglect the health and welfare of our most vulnerable citizens will be held accountable. Patients and their families have the right to expect that they and their loved ones will receive the best possible care while at a nursing facility in New York. My office will continue to prosecute those who neglect their patients.”
Wingate’s CEO Scott Schuster stated that the nursing home is dedicated to providing the best possible care to its residents. Commenting on Klaproth’s admitted negligence, Schuster stated, “The employee was immediately terminated over a year ago when our internal procedures discovered the misconduct and we conducted a thorough internal investigation. No resident, including the one in question, was harmed by this employee’s actions and we are confident all our residents are receiving the absolute best care.”