Donna Cameron, of Ashton Pennsylvania, who was the former Director of Nursing at St. James Retirement & Rehabiliation in Chester, Pennsylvania, pled no contest to charges that she criminally neglected patients, falsified records and perjured herself. The nurse neglected a 72 year old patient’s head wound and allowed it to become infected with maggots. Although doctor’s recommended the patient see a dermatologist for the lesion on her head and for nurses to apply an antibiotic ointment, the nursing director failed to do so. Even worse, the nurse then falsified medical records and lied to invesigating authorities to hide the improper care. Two other employees of the nursing home are also facing criminal charges.
Public news accounts of the incident report that the patient was cared for at a hospital prior to being transferred to the nursing and rehabilitation facility. At the nursing home in Delaware county, the physician’s orders concerning wound care were never followed. The wound worsened and became infested with maggots. Eventually, the patient was transferred back to the hospital’s emergency room, where a hospital staff member noticed blood coming from the bandaged wound. When the bandage was removed, it was immediately noted that there were over 50 live maggots in the wound. Upon arrival at the hospital, the patient was also described as very unkempt with soiled clothing.
Prosecutors claimed that the Cameron, who was the patient’s sole nurse, failed to care for the wound over a four month period of time. Then, when being investigated, the nurse falsified the medical records to have them show that proper new dressings had been previously applied to the wound. Under the plea, the nurse will not contest the charges record tampering, criminal neglect and perjury.
Nursing home abuse is far too prevalent in Pennsylvania and all across the United States. Unfortunately, this story is one that I have heard many times. Nursing home patients are often neglected in a variety of manners. They are sometimes not given their proper medications, allowed to develop devastating skin ulcerations, not provided proper nutrition and not provided needed medical care. Such situations can result in disability and even death and require evaluation by a competent trial attorney.