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November 29, 2012

A former nursing home worker in Oklahoma City pled guilty on November 21st to abusing a resident with dementia and was sentenced to two years in prison, while a co-defendant remains at-large.

Lucy Waithira Gakunga, 24, admitted to abusing Eryetha Mayberry, a 96-year-old resident at Quail Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, back in April of 2012.

Mayberry’s family installed a hidden camera in her room at the care facility because of initial concerns that someone was stealing from her for over a year. The recorded incident of abuse occurred one month after the camera began recording activities in the nursing home.

The video footage reveals Gakunga shoving latex gloves into Mayberry’s mouth and forcefully holding them there despite the patient trying to push the worker’s hands away. Gakunga is also seen lifting Mayberry into bed then pushing the side of her face down in an attempt to get her to lie down. Police said the worker also compressed the resident’s torso. A supervisor of the elder care facility told police there is no medical reason to push on the victim’s chest.

Caroline Kaseke, 28, co-defendant in the case, is accused of having watched and done nothing to stop Gakunga abuse Mayberry, according to police.

Quail Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation Center fired the two workers after the nursing home abuse was caught on camera.

The nursing home administrator said the acts of the two employees are not representative of the facility’s approximate 116 employees.

“As stewards of our residents’ well-being, we share in the community’s outrage over these inhumane acts,” Amanda Penrod said in a statement. “We hold ourselves to the highest of standards and have zero tolerance for such behavior of conduct, which is why we immediately contacted the police.”

Quail Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation Center was bought out by an Atlanta-based company, AdCare Health Systems, in August. Wendy Brooke, vice president of sales and marketing for AdCare, declined to comment on the case, except for stating, “We ensure we have the proper state and federal abuse policies in place.”

Mayberry, who lived at the facility for five years, died on July 27th of this year due to Alzheimer’s disease and congestive heart failure, according to a spokesman for the family.

The defendant, Gakunga, will be deported to her home country of Nigeria upon being released after her two year sentence from prison, according to Oklahoma County District Judge Glenn M. Jones.

Erlene Adkisson, one of Mayberry’s three daughters, doesn’t feel as if the punishment is enough.

Often times the very nurses we trust to take care of our loved ones in nursing homes are the ones who betray our trust and abuse or neglect vulnerable nursing home residents. We urge you to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer if you think your loved one was abused or neglected in a nursing home.

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