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4 hospital workers sentenced to 1 year in prison for abusing elderly patient

AG: Nurses restrained patient for 15 hours using heavy bags
St. Elizabeth Edgewood
Posted at 1:38 PM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 13:45:50-04

EDGEWOOD, Ky. — Four former health care workers were sentenced to a year in prison after they pleaded guilty to restraining a senior in their care for 15 hours by placing heavy bags on them, Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced Thursday.

The case involved two certified nursing assistants, 28-year-old Ellyssa Klein and 31-year-old Sandra Nobbe, and two registered nurses, 74-year-old Gary Ray and 33-year-old Ashley Flower. All of them worked in the Behavioral Health Unit at St. Elizabeth Edgewood.

The four restrained an elderly patient by "arranging furniture around the patient's medical recliner chair" and placing two therapeutic water bags, weighing more than 35 pounds each, on top of the patient, Cameron said. The patient was restrained this way for 15 hours on July 1 and July 2, 2015.

On April 1, 2021, Klein, Nobbe and Ray pleaded guilty to reckless abuse or neglect of an adult, a Class A misdemeanor. The three were sentenced to one year in prison, conditionally discharged for two years. As a condition of their plea, the three had to forfeit their professional licenses and resolve an administrative case with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services stemming from the abuse.

They will also be placed on the Caregiver Misconduct Registry for the next seven years.

On May 20, Flower also pleaded guilty to reckless abuse or neglect of an adult and was sentenced to a year in prison, conditionally discharged for two years. Flower also had to forfeit her professional license.

“The most vulnerable members of our Kentucky family deserve protection, and we will not tolerate abuse or neglect by those charged with their care,” Cameron said in the announcement. “I appreciate the work of our Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control Unit to hold accountable those responsible for these terrible actions, and I urge anyone with information regarding suspected abuse to contact our office at 1-877-ABUSE TIP.”

The Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control prosecuted the case.

If you or someone you know is a victim of abuse, neglect or exploitation in a Kentucky Medicaid facility, contact the Attorney General’s elder abuse tip line at 1-877-228-7384.