Nursing Aide Convicted of Forcing Water Up Nursing Home Resident's Oxygen Tube, Hitting Him

Jurors returned a guilty verdict Thursday in the trial of a former nurse assistant at a nursing home who was accused of striking a disabled resident in the groin and forcing water down his nose into his lungs through his oxygen tubing.

The 39-year-old man was convicted of second-degree elder abuse in a single-day trial. The case boiled down to the allegation of another former nurse assistant at the nursing home against the defendant’s denial. The other nursing assistant turned the accused abuser in two years ago, alleging that he assaulted a brain-injured resident of the home in his mid-30s who was confined to a wheelchair, on oxygen much of the time and unable to care for himself.

The aide testified for the prosecution that he and the accused man were in the resident's room at the home when he asked him how he and another man who had worked there in the past managed to “handle” the resident as well as they did. He explained that the resident posed control issues for most staff members from time to time.

He said the accused responded to his question by walking up to the resident, who was reclining at an angle in his wheelchair, and hitting him in his testicles. The blow caused the resident to cry out, the aide testified.

“It was the kind of cry when you get the wind knocked out of you,” he told the court.

He said the accused then began smacking the resident in the face while mockingly and repeatedly asking him: “Who did this to you?”

Confused by what was happening, the resident answered that his roommate at the home had done it. He said the accused then grabbed the water canister that was hooked up to the resident’s oxygen concentrator and held it up so that water was forced down the tubing, up the resident’s nose and into his lungs.

“[The resident] started choking, with the water forcibly coming out of his mouth and nose,” the aide said.

He said the accused then started laughing and asked him if he was going to tell anybody what he had done. The aide said he raised the resident up in his chair and leaned him forward to help get the water out of his lungs. He acknowledged that he did not immediately inform anyone of the abuse. For more, read the story.


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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