Monday, August 17, 2009

Elder Abuse "Horror" in Quincy, MA.

A 23-year-old nurse’s aide from Quincy has been arrested after police say she tormented and abused elder residents at a home for people with memory loss.

Kara A. Murphy, a nurse aide since 2004, manhandled at least four elderly residents at the Atrium at Faxon Woods during a shift last Saturday, police said They also said she boasted to another caregiver about force-feeding an 89-year-old woman her own feces.

The charges against Murphy are based entirely on the account of another employee who reported the incidents Tuesday to her director, police said.

None of the victims had any recollection of the incidents, police said.

Murphy, of 38 Scammell St., Quincy, pleaded innocent on Friday in Quincy District Court. She is charged with seven counts of assault and battery on disabled persons older than 60.

Judge Mark Coven ordered her to remain under house arrest until authorities can fit her with a GPS tracking device. Murphy is next due in court on Oct. 8.

A woman who answered the door at Murphy’s home said the family had no comment.

Teri Marinko, vice president of marketing and communications for Benchmark Assisted Living, which runs the facility, said Murphy was immediately fired after the company conducted its own investigation.

Marinko said she did not know when Murphy was hired. Department of Public Health records show that Murphy was registered as a nurse’s aide following a competency evaluation in June 2004.

Marinko said there were no prior complaints about Murphy. All potential employees are checked for criminal convictions, she said.

“All the families that have loved ones at the community have been notified,” Marinko said. “We remain confident in the safety and security processes in place to ensure the well-being of our residents.”

The Atrium, on Falls Boulevard, has 60 private apartments and caters to people with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other forms of memory loss. There are color cues in the halls to help residents navigate the facility. Monthly rates start at $5,500.

A report by Quincy police officer James Whedbee reads like a sordid tale of elder abuse that, according to witness’s account, began at 8 a.m. in the bathroom of an 89-year-old resident.

According to the employee who reported Murphy, when the woman tried to stand up from the toilet, Murphy grabbed her by the jaw and forced her back down, saying, “I should make her eat it.”

Murphy then admitted to having carried out that threat in the past, the witness said.

Afterward, when the woman refused to take her medication, Murphy allegedly forced open her mouth and poured in water, which spilled down her neck as the woman pushed her caregiver away.

Later, the co-worker said, she witnessed Murphy push a 92-year-old into her wheelchair and backhand the woman in the forehead because she “was not moving fast enough.”

Murphy mockingly bounced on the lap of another wheelchair-bound woman and punched a different woman in the shoulder, the report says.

In the afternoon, Murphy taunted her co-worker for changing the clothes of a woman who had urinated on herself and recommended she leave it for the next shift, police said.

Quincy’s elder services director, Thomas F. Clasby, said the allegations were stunning.

“If it’s true, it’s disgusting and sickening,” he said.


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