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Ohio Attorney General Announces Charges Against Seven Columbus Nurses

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost
ANDY CHOW
/
Ohio Public Radio

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced the indictment of seven nurses at a Columbus nursing facility on 34 charges, including involuntary manslaughter.

The six employees and contract nurse practitioner were indicted Wednesday in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court after being accused of neglecting two patients under their care. Both patients died.

An investigation of Whetstone Gardens and Care Center on Olentangy River Road determined that one patient died as a direct result of neglect at the facility, according to Yost.

In February 2017, the patient developed serious wounds that worsened to gangrenous and necrotic tissue, which created an emergency medical status.

“It was a medical emergency but the nurses delayed sending him to the hospital,” Yost says. “The patient died March 5, 2017 from septic shock.”

Three nurses – Sandra Blazer, Jessica Caldwell, and Kimberly Potter – were indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter, gross patient neglect and patient neglect as a result of failing to provide timely medical treatment to the patient.

“This man literally rotted to death, and it could have been prevented,” Yost says.

A second patient was neglected and suffered physical injury. Yost says nurses repeatedly documented treatments and care that were not provided. Her medical records included false information and signatures forged by nurses.

“The records listed care occurring at times when the patient wasn’t even at the facility,” Yost says of the second patient.

Five employees, including Blazer, were indicted on charges of gross patient neglect and/or charges of forgery as a result of the second patient’s death. Yost says his office can only prove that the patient suffered physical harm as a result of the care.

The investigation continues, and Yost says there may be updates down the road.

Below is a summary of the charges:

  • Akosua Ayarkwa, Floor Nurse: three counts forgery, a fifth degree felony; gross patient neglect, a first degree misdemeanor
  • Sandra Blazer, Assistant Director of Nursing: involuntary manslaughter, a third degree felony; gross patient neglect, a first degree misdemeanor; patient neglect, a second degree misdemeanor; tampering with evidence, a third degree felony; four counts forgery, a fifth degree felony
  • Jessica Caldwell, Unit Manager/Floor Nurse: involuntary manslaughter, a third degree felony; gross patient neglect, a first degree misdemeanor; patient neglect, a second degree misdemeanor
  • Sheila Dains, Floor Nurse: eight counts forgery, a fifth degree felony; gross patient neglect, a first degree misdemeanor
  • Illuminee Muhongere, Floor Nurse: two counts forgery, a fifth degree felony
  • Kimberly Potter, Contracted Certified Nurse Practitioner: involuntary manslaughter, a third degree felony; gross patient neglect, a first degree misdemeanor; patient neglect, a second degree misdemeanor
  • Maegan Van Syckle, Floor Nurse: four counts forgery, a fifth degree felony; gross patient neglect, a first degree misdemeanor