Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty, through the courts.

November 10, 2012

Nurse Sex Video Prompts Elder Abuse Suit (San Diego)

Nurse sex video prompts elder abuse suit
November 06, 2012
 Pauline Repard


Two male registered nurses in San Diego are under investigation after graphic videos showed them apparently engaging in sex acts with a 98-year-old bedridden stroke patient and each other, state officials said Tuesday.
“It appears to show very egregious behavior,” said Russ Heimerich, spokesman for the state Department of Consumer Affairs, which launched an investigation last year. “I don’t know if we’ve ever had a case that has a video like this. We are working to shut them down.”
The District Attorney’s Office is considering criminal charges against Russel O. Torralba and Alfredo V. Ruiz, and their nursing licenses have been suspended pending an administrative hearing next week, authorities said.
In one of several videos, two men in blue nurses’ scrubs can be seen in the female patient’s bedroom fondling each other while one touches her hand. One man then appears to fondle himself over her hand as he leans over and kisses her face.
The patient had paid caregivers for years, but after suffering a stroke and right-side paralysis in 2005, she hired skilled nurses at her home, said attorney William M. Berman, who has been hired by the woman’s family.
Berman said the woman’s daughter went through AMS Home Care Solutions in February 2011 to hire two 12-hour shift registered nurses at a rate of $1,300 a day. The daughter began to suspect that her mother was not being cared for properly, but complaints to the company went nowhere, Berman said.
About two weeks later, family members viewed video from security cameras that had been installed in the woman’s home years earlier, Berman said.
“What they saw was horrific,” said Berman, who specializes in elder abuse lawsuits. “These acts are unfathomable.”
He said videos show the men sexually gratifying one another and touching the woman, even putting her hand inside the pants of one of the men.
The daughter hired Berman to sue AMS, Ruiz and Torralba for alleged fraud, elder abuse and negligent supervision. The suit was filed in June in San Diego Superior Court and is set for trial Jan. 14, Berman said.
“It’s not about the money, it’s about dignity and accountability, to ensure this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” Berman said.
The woman, who is now 99 years old, is aware of herself and her surroundings but is unable to call out for help, Berman said.
Attorneys for AMS, Ruiz and Torralba could not be reached by phone Tuesday afternoon.
The family filed a complaint with state Consumer Affairs in April 2011. The agency sent the case to county prosecutors in July of this year, and it is still under review, district attorney spokesman Steve Walker said Tuesday.
State spokesman Heimerich said an administrative law judge ordered an interim suspension of Ruiz’s and Torralba’s nursing licenses on Oct. 24. Under terms of the suspension, they may still work as nurses in a hospital setting, but not together, and not in private homes or facilities.
A hearing on permanent suspension of their licenses is set for Nov. 14, Heimerich said.

SOURCE:       The NC Times

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