PORT JEFFERSON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Two women charged with caring for elderly patients faced a Long Island judge Tuesday, accused of beating an 88-year-old man in his nursing home bed because he didn’t want to shower.
CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff spoke exclusively to the victim’s devastated daughter.
“They put a pillow on his face while one person was punching him,” said Patty Izzo.
It was a sickening discovery, as Izzo said her father, a World War II veteran, was found brutally beaten in his nursing home bedroom.
“Like an animal,” Izzo said. “They treated him like an animal.”
Her father, David Sharp, suffered from dementia and was nearly deaf and bedridden at the Woodhaven Nursing Home in Port Jefferson last year.
That was when New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched an investigation, which he said found the patient was beaten by a pair of caregivers.
The so-called caregivers tied Sharp’s hands above his head, forcefully punched him multiple times, and held a pillow over his face in bed, Schneiderman’s office said.
Schneiderman calls the case as low as you can go.
“You rarely see something this despicable — punching a guy , tying him up, smothering him to teach him a lesson,” Schneiderman said. “Absolutely disgraceful.”
Nurse Raquel Bouton of Mount Sinai and personal care aide Laura Harper of Coram have been charged with assault and endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person.
Sharp’s daughter said he was beaten, and his hands and feet were tied with garbage bags, because he resisted taking a shower.
“He’s an elderly man who had dementia. He didn’t know what he was doing,” Izzo said. “He was the gentlest soul; he would never hurt anybody.”
Attorneys for the workers claimed the attack never took place, and said Bouton and Harper are hardworking caregivers doing their jobs.
Sharp died earlier this year. His daughter hopes going public will make heartless people think twice about how they care for the elderly.
“I don’t think they should be working in that field,” she said. “I don’t think they think of the patients as people.”
Schneiderman said he, too, hopes his prosecution sends a message that abuse of the elderly is not tolerated. Both women now face up to seven years in prison.
Woodhaven Nursing Home officials said the two accused employees were suspended when the charges first surfaced. The same nursing home was in the news just last month when an aide was charged with taking humiliating photographs of a patient.
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