Bristol, Virginia Nursing Home Allegedly Ignored Years of Sexual Abuse of Residents By Aide

An aide at a Bristol, Virginia nursing home, National HealthCare on North Street, was indicted on four counts of aggravated sexual battery last week.

A former nurse at the same facility said she tried twice to report inappropriate sexual behavior by the aide to nursing home management, with no action taken.

The first time she complained about a nursing aide’s mistreatment of a patient, she was told she saw it wrong. The second time she complained – and no action was taken – she quit the nursing job she’d had for only six months. Eventually, Davenport told an investigator with the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia that she saw the same aide molesting two different nursing home patients during her time there.

 

That aide, James W. Wright, 35, was indicted Tuesday on four counts of aggravated sexual battery. Each count stems from the investigation into the treatment of a different patient from 2000 to 2007, including the lady the nurse said she saw in the wheelchair and another patient who is blind, authorities said. 

 

Hours after Tuesday’s indictments, Bristol Virginia police arrested Wright at the Exit 7 International House of Pancakes, where he works as a waiter. He is being held without bond at the Bristol Virginia Jail.

 

The nurse said the first time she stumbled upon the abuse of patients was in August 2007. It was the sound of a rocking wheelchair that grabbed her attention, she said, as she strode down a hallway. She peeked into a patient’s room and saw a woman shaking in her wheelchair. The woman’s shirt and bra had been shoved high on her chest. A nurse’s aide was standing behind the wheelchair, and he was reaching around to fondle the patient’s breasts.

 

“She looked like she was just getting ready to break down,” the nurse said. “She just looked at you like ... she was so confused and hurt.”
Later that same month, the nurse said, she caught the same aide fondling a blind patient.

 

Soon after that incident, Wright left his employment at the nursing home. The conditions of his departure are unclear. Calls were not returned Tuesday by the Murfreesboro, Tenn.-based National HealthCare Corp., which runs the Bristol nursing home as well 75 others in Tennessee and other eastern states.

 

According to the indictments, an attorney general investigator testified before the grand jury Tuesday.

 

The abuse, the nurse told the Bristol Herald Courier, was not a secret among nursing home staff.

 

“When I talked to the rest of [the nurses], they said this has been going on for years,” she said.
The nurse said she complained to her supervisor after seeing the scared woman in the wheelchair in early August 2007. She said she lodged the second complaint later that month after finding Wright sitting next to a blind patient in bed.
That patient’s robe had been pushed up, exposing her lower body, she said. She said the aide was inappropriately touching the patient, and himself.
The nurse said she quit soon after that incident.
“You look at those people every day in the face knowing they’re getting abuse and you can’t do anything because nobody’s got your back,” she said. “I don’t want to go back to nursing.” For more, read the story.

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Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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