Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has charged a Pawling nurse with failing to administer medication to three residents at Putnam Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Brewster, New York. Further, not only did the nurse, Stacey McAdams, fail to administer the necessary medication to the elderly residents at the nursing home, she also falsified medical records to conceal her actions. For these actions, the Attorney General has charged her with three counts of first-degree endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person and three counts of falsifying business records. In addition to these felonies, the nurse was also charged with three misdemeanor counts of a willful violation of health laws.
The charges, which were filed on October 26, 2017, allege that McAdams failed to provide medication to three different residents. She failed to provide an anti-seizure medication to a resident with a history of seizures. She also failed to provide an anticoagulant medication to a patient with a history of blood clots and a heart medication for an elderly resident with congestive heart failure and obstructive pulmonary disease. Then, according to the New York State Attorney General, McAdams intentionally falsified the records to show that each of these residents had received their medication.
“Nurses have a fundamental duty to properly administer essential medications to residents in their care and to truthfully record the circumstances,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Neglecting care for our most vulnerable citizens will not be tolerated by my office.”
While the charges stem from her work at Putnam Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, McAdams is no longer employed by the nursing home. She has pled not guilty to all charges.
According to the New York State Department of Health, Putnam Ridge Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Brewster, New York has received 26 total citations by the government agency over the last four years. Of those 26 total citations, 11 were deemed “Life Safety Code Violations” while the other ten were “Standard Health Citations.”
- Violation of Regulation on “Electrical Equipment – Power Extension Cords.” Putnam Ridge violated K307 NFPA 101 by not following the regulations on the appropriate use of power extension cords. In this case, the nursing home had used flexible cords and cables, in violation of the safety cord.
- Failure to Maintain 1-Hour Fire Resistance Barrier. Under K307 NFPA 101, hazardous areas must be protected by a fire barrier with a “one-hour fire resistance” rating. This means that if a fire were to occur, it should take about one-hour to spread to remaining areas of the nursing home. According to the New York State Department of Health, Putnam Ridge did not follow this regulation when it did not properly enclose hazardous areas and corridors – thus, preventing a fire from spreading so rapidly.
- Failure to Properly Illuminate Entries and Exits. Under K307 483.20(k)(3)(i), nursing homes must properly illuminate all means of “egress” – which the regulation states will include, “designated stairs, aisles, corridors, ramps, escalators, and passageways leading to an exit.” Further, the regulation requires the lighting to be continuous and backup measures be provided for “emergency lighting.” The New York State Department of Health said this regulation was violated by the Putnam nursing home because the exits on the doors have an “on and off” switch – when the switch is off, even the emergency power will not be able to turn the light on.
- Violation of Regulation on “Stairways and Smokeproof Enclosures.” Putnam Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center violated K307 4.813(c) which requires that all stairwells descending past the “level of exit discharge” (the first floor for this facility) must provide warnings to “dissuade occupants from traveling past” the exit. The New York Health Department said that the Putnam County nursing home did not have any signs on the stairwells that led to the basement, past the first floor. This regulation is meant to prevent confused or impaired residents from following the stairwell past the point of exit, a common problem in some emergency situations.