There are no coincidences. This story comes out the day after I argued with Multnomah County Developmental disabilities that someone I knew had been in eerily similar circumstances as this woman. They don’t want to believe he had a broken thigh that went unexplained. Not long after he “slipped to the floor during transfer” he also died. The sad thing is, no one in his group home is verbal. From today’s Oregonian...
Portland jury convicts 2 in adult-care death
10/7/2008, 1:54 a.m. PDT
The Associated Press
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Multnomah County jury returned a guilty verdict against a former nursing home supervisor accused of waiting too long to get medical help for a patient who was dropped while being transferred from a wheelchair to her bed.
Jurors also found a certified nursing assistant guilty for haphazardly placing patient Linda J. Ober in a sling, causing her to fall on Oct. 29, 2006. Ober, 60, broke both of her legs and died less than a week later.
Suzanne Ruddell, 59, was found guilty Monday of felony criminal mistreatment for failing to get Ober the help she needed. She waited five days before ordering an X-ray. Cammy Nye, 53, the nursing assistant, was convicted of misdemeanor reckless endangerment.
The criminal case, and a $3.5 million lawsuit filed last December against the Gateway Care and Rehabilitation Center, sparked widespread concern from the public, especially at a time of rapid growth in the number of aging Americans in adult-care homes.
Juror Lizette Solomon told The Oregonian newspaper that the "indifference" Nye and Ruddell showed to Ober's health and safety was "unconscionable." Solomon said she couldn't understand why the nursing director didn't order X-rays sooner.
"It's dreadful," she said. "It's just very, very sad."
Erin Kirkwood, Nye's defense attorney, argued that Nye had 22 patients to tend to the day Ober began to slip out of the sling. The aide assisting Nye had testified that she thought Ober might not be positioned correctly in the sling, but Nye told the aide things were fine.
"If Ms. Nye thought she was in that sling wrong, she would have changed it," Kirkwood said.
Kirkwood also said her client did the right thing by immediately reporting what had happened. Nurse Verna Colleen Heide entered the room and is the one who decided Ober was fine after the incident, Kirkwood said.
In August, Heide, 64, avoided trial by pleading guilty to one count of criminal mistreatment. She was sentenced last month to three years probation and 160 hours of community service.
Constantin Severe, Ruddell's attorney, also placed blame on Heide, saying Heide never told his client Ober cried out in pain.
Deputy District Attorney Annamarie Shoen, however, said it would have been impossible for Ruddell not to know that something was wrong with Ober. Nursing home workers testified that they'd told Ruddell at least four times that Ober needed help because she was doing things such as screaming when she was moved.
"Linda Ober didn't need to die," Shoen said. "She didn't need to sit for six days in excruciating pain. ... Suzanne Ruddell, for whatever the reason, didn't do anything."
Nye and Ruddell are scheduled to be sentenced Friday.