Nassau Nursing Home Nurses, Aide Charged With Fatally Neglecting Patient

Two nurses and an aide were arrested for endangering an 81-year-old resident of a Uniondale nursing home who died after they allegedly neglected to respond to the patient’s ventilator alarms, authorities said.

The registered nurses, 42-year-old Sijimole Reji of Smithtown and 57-year-old Annieamma Augustine of West Hempstead, and a certified nurse’s aide, 41-year-old Martine Morland of Freeport, pleaded not guilty Wednesday at Nassau County court to charges of endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person or an incompetent or physically disabled person and willful violation of health laws.

“These allegations paint a picture of blatant neglect that ultimately resulted in the death of a patient,” said New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Prosecutors said the victim—a wheelchair-bound, ventilator-dependent resident of A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility whose identity is being kept confidential—became disconnected from her ventilator and was unable to breathe on the morning of Dec. 20, 2015.

Although the nursing staff is required to respond to ventilator alarms like the one that went off at the time, the trio ignored it for more than nine minutes, authorities said. By the time they responded, the victim was unresponsive and unconscious. She died the following day at Nassau University Medical Center.

Judge James Darcy released all three without bail. None still works at the facility. They face up to seven years in prison, if convicted.

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.