It is not only Georgia's elderly who are at risk of neglect or abuse in long-term nursing facilities. A 29-year-old resident of such a facility in Arizona had been in a long-term vegetative state for years when she unexpectedly gave birth to a baby last December, shocking her caregivers who had no idea she was pregnant. An investigation yielded sufficient evidence for authorities to arrest a 36-year-old licensed practical nurse employed at the facility on charges of vulnerable adult abuse and sexual assault. That man has now voluntarily surrendered his nursing license.
The woman has been a resident of the facility since she was a toddler. In addition to being in a long-term vegetative state, she also has a seizure disorder, bouts of recurrent pneumonia and is a quadriplegic. Records indicate that she does not have the mental capacity to make decisions or give consents.
The man has held various nursing licenses since 2005 and had worked at this particular facility since approximately 2011. At the time that the alleged assault took place, he was reportedly in charge of the wing where the woman resides. During the course of the investigation, authorities obtained search warrants identifying him as one of the employees who may have had access to the victim. A court order later required the nurse and numerous other individuals to provide DNA samples to match against the child. Authorities arrested the nurse at the end of January when testing allegedly demonstrated a match with his DNA.
The nurse opted to voluntarily surrender his license rather than undergo a hearing by the Arizona State Board of Licensing. If convicted, he may reapply for a new license after serving his sentence. Otherwise, he may reapply after a period of three years has elapsed.
Family members with a reason to believe that a loved one has received abusive or neglectful treatment at a long-term nursing facility may find it useful to consult an attorney.