Three Ohio nurses were charged with involuntary manslaughter and gross patient neglect after two nursing home patients died under their care — one of whom “literally rotted to death,” officials said.
Three other employees and a contracted certified nurse practitioner at Whetstone Gardens and Care Center were also indicted in a Franklin County court Wednesday on a total of 34 charges, U.S. Attorney General Dave Yost’s Office said.
One of the patients at the Columbus facility developed serious wounds on his body that turned into dead tissue in February 2017, Yost said. However, nurses allegedly failed to take the proper steps to get him treatment — ones that experts said could have saved his life.
“The man literally rotted to death,” Yost said at a press conference Thursday.
Whetstone disputed facility’s involvement in the patient’s death.
“Whetstone vehemently disagrees with any suggestion that employees of the facility caused the 2017 death of a patient who was transferred to the hospital five days before passing away,” Ryan Stubenrauch, a spokesperson for Whetstone, said.
The nurses, identified as Sandra Blazer, Jessica Caldwell and Kimberly Potter, were charged with involuntary manslaughter, gross patient neglect and patient neglect as a result.
The second patient died after nurses repeatedly documented treatments that were never provided to the patient, who authorities say suffered physical harm as a result of the inadequate care.
In turn, five employees, including Blazer, were indicted on charges of forgery and/or gross patient neglect.
“This case goes to the heart of protecting the unprotected. These victims were completely dependent on others for day-to-day care, which their families trusted Whetstone Gardens to provide,” Yost said. “Instead of providing that care, evidence shows these nurses forced the victims to endure awful mistreatment and then lied about it.”
“This is gut-wrenching for anyone who has entrusted a care facility with the well-being and safety of a loved one,” he said.