Nursing Aide Sentenced to Jail and Probation for Breaking Dementia Patient’s Arm During Altercation

Sarina Francis, 36, a former certified nurse’s aide at the Hudson Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Albany, was sentenced in March 2014 to 30 days in Albany County Jail and five years’ probation for breaking the arm of an 84-year-old dementia patient under her care. In January 2014, Francis pled guilty to one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Vulnerable Elderly Person or Physically Disabled Person in the Second Degree, a Class E felony.

According to investigators, Francis was taking care of an elderly dementia patient who also suffered from hearing loss on August 17, 2013. As Francis was wheeling the elderly woman to her room, the patient became agitated and struck Francis in the face with a closed fist. Francis reacted by grabbing the patient by the wrist and twisting her arm behind her head, resulting in a fracture to the elderly patient’s arm. After the patient yelled, “You broke my wrist,” another nurse’s aide who witnessed the incident said that Francis then ripped off the patient’s incontinence brief and hit her in the face. Francis also grabbed the patient’s hand and made her smack herself in the face.

Francis told New York State Department of Health investigators, “If I broke her arm I didn’t mean to. I was angry at the time and I should have taken myself out of it.”

cast.jpgHowever, the patient remained under Francis’ care for five hours after the incident, and the patient was not treated for her broken arm until 12 hours later. After several employees reported the incident to the supervisor on duty, the supervisor refused to have the patient assessed, even though her arm was bruised and swollen. When employees appealed to another supervisor on the night shift, the supervisor responded by saying, “I’m tired of cleaning up (that nurse’s) messes.” It was only after a third supervisor was told of the incident that the patient received medical treatment and was transported to the hospital.

While the Department of Health cited the facility for the incident, the nursing home was cited in February 2013 for not issuing patients their medications on time. In January 2011, the facility was cited after an electric razor was used on multiple patients, even when it had blood on it.

Commenting on Francis’ sentence, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman stated, “Families put significant trust in nursing homes and their staff when they are chosen to provide care for loved ones. My office will hold people accountable when patients are mistreated or neglected.”

Website Resource: Albany nursing home slow to react after resident’s arm broken by aide, Times Union, Lauren Stanforth, January 23, 2014

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