January 15, 2013
A former nursing director at a Bakersfield, California nursing home was sentenced to prison this week for nursing home abuse which led to the death of three residents.
According to the California Department of Justice, Gwen D. Hughes was employed as a nursing director at the Kern Valley Healthcare District in Lake Isabella in 2007 when she ordered a local hospital pharmacist to prescribe psychotropic medications to 23 residents. However, the medications were not for medical or therapeutic purposes. Instead, the medicines were used to quiet down patients that Hughes considered noisy, rude, and/or argumentative. As a result, all 23 patients experienced adverse physical reactions, and three patients died shortly after. Most of the patients suffered either from dementia or Alzheimer’s, according to officials.
Per Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, Hughes purposely medicated the patients for her own peace of mind. As a result Harris pushed for a prison sentence:
“This defendant maliciously and dangerously drugged patients for her own personal convenience. This is clearly outrageous conduct that justifies a state prison sentence.”
The investigation also found that Dr. Pormir, the nursing home physician, failed to monitor the condition of the patients after they were administered the medication. In 2012, Dr. Pormir was sentenced to 300 hours of community services. He now faces pending civil charges after the family of the victims retained a California nursing home abuse attorney and filed for civil damages.
This week in court, Hughes was sentenced to three years in state prison for her participation in ordering the medications to the patients.