| NEW YORK, June 5
NEW YORK, June 5 Nine employees of a troubled
New York nursing home, including the top administrator, were
indicted on Thursday on charges stemming from the death of a
resident whose distress alarms went unheeded for hours.
The company running the Medford Multicare Center for Living
was indicted as well for an alleged attempt to cover up the
circumstances surrounding the October 2012 death, according to a
statement by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The victim, a 72-year-old woman, was staying at the facility
in Medford, about 40 miles (64 km) east of New York City on
suburban Long Island, for what was meant to be temporary
A respiratory therapist who failed to connect the woman to a
ventilator at night was charged with criminally negligent
homicide, the Attorney General's statement said.
The therapist ignored alarms and messages to her pager for
more than two hours when the woman stopped breathing, and video
surveillance showed the therapist walking past the resident's
room while the alarms were sounding, it said.
"Today's indictment sends a clear message: We will arrest
those who put our most vulnerable citizens in harm's way, and in
particular those who neglect or deny life-saving medical
treatment to patients," Schneiderman said. "We must and will do
everything in our power to protect our nursing home residents
Also indicted on criminal charges were six nurses and aides
also accused of ignoring the alarms. One nurse told
investigators the resident was alive and "looked up at me" when
she had likely been dead for some time, Schneiderman said.
The Center for Living at Medford Inc., the facility
administrator and the director of respiratory therapy were
accused of concealing computer records, which documented the
alarms, from state health investigators, it said.
All nine pleaded not guilty at arraignments on Thursday
before Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice John Collins.
The Attorney General filed a civil lawsuit earlier this year
charging the home's owners with looting and fraud.
The lawsuit said since 2008 that 17 employees had been
convicted of neglect and falsification of records in an effort
to cover up abuse and neglect.
It accused Medford's owners of paying themselves at least
$60 million, representing nearly a quarter of the Medicaid
funding they received, the statement said.
(Editing by Sandra Maler)