Former SNF workers charged with neglect after resident bitten by ants

The former workers — an LPN and two CNAs — were arrested on Friday.
The former workers — an LPN and two CNAs — were arrested on Friday.

Three former members of the nursing staff at an Alabama skilled nursing facility were indicted last week on charges that their neglect of a resident contributed to her sustaining nearly 100 ant bites.

Michele Curry, a licensed practical nurse, along with Kacey Allen and Shawna Rogers, both certified nursing assistants, were arrested on Friday. Each was charged with one count of Elder Abuse/Neglect in the second degree.

The three documented that they had checked on a bedridden resident of Cherokee County Health and Rehabilitation Center in Centre, AL, “numerous times” throughout the night of Sept. 3, 2016, and into the next morning, according to state Attorney General Steve Marshall. Surveillance footage from the facility showed that none of the three workers entered the resident's room for around 11 hours that night.

When the resident was checked on the next morning, she was found to have roughly 100 ant bites. The employees' “intentional neglect directly contributed to the injuries to the resident,” the AG's office said. The three workers face a possible sentence of two to 20 years in prison if convicted.  

Jerry Culberson, CEO of Preferred Health Services, the company that manages Cherokee, told McKnight's that the company self-reported the incident immediately after it was discovered.

“On our review of our video camera system we discovered that [the employees] were not making rounds on the third shift as they should,” Culberson added.

Marshall applauded Cherokee's staff and administration in their reporting of the incident and cooperation, as well as the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for “thorough investigation.”

In a related vein, the topic of resident injuries will be explored on March 15 during McKnight's 11th Annual Online Expo. Daniel Sheridan, Ph.D., RN, a professor at the Texas A&M College of Nursing and director of the University's Health Sciences Center will present “Accident or Intentional? Assessing patient injuries in long-term care” at 11:30 a.m. ET, 8:30 a.m. PT.

To register for the expo, and to find out more about any of the five educational sessions, continuing education credits and networking opportunities it offers, visit mcknights.com/expo2017.