Seven Ex-Nurses Charged With Criminal Neglect After Disabled Patients’ Hand Had to Be Amputated

Seven ex-nurses are now being charged with criminal neglect after a disabled patient with a broken finger wasn’t treated properly and had to undergo a hand amputation as a result, according to ABC News.

In April, 2012, a disabled woman, Wendy Hart, arrived at the Vineland Developmental Center in Vineland, New Jersey, seeking treatment for her broken finger. When she got there, seven nurses treated her, and one of which wrapped a bandage around her entire hand so tight that an orthopedic surgeon said “only God could have removed it.”

He also stated that when he was finally able to remove the bandage, her hand was “clearly gangrenous and mummified.”

Hart had developed gangrene from the bandage being tightly wrapped around her hand, and doctors had no other choice but to amputate her hand.

After three years, the seven nurses were finally charged with endangering the welfare of a disabled person.

Those seven nurses charged were Shiree Cephas, Yvonne Downing, Margie Levick, Towanda Marrero, Parul Patel, Tracy Pitts-Byrd, and Geraldine Rothmalle. However, two of them were registered nurses, while the rest were licensed practical nurses.

They were all fired from the Vineland Developmental Center following the incident.

Joe Waite, who is the director at American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, says that the lengthy time it took for the nurses to be indicted indicates a “broken system.”

“It’s terrible, I understand, and am very sympathetic to the patients. But for criminal charges to be brought three years after the fact and not even have a hearing?… There is no fairness.”

According to court documents, the seven nurses “knowingly unreasonably neglected to do, or failed to permit to be done, any act necessary for the physical or mental health of the said Wendy Hart.”

An arraignment was held on Monday for the seven nurses at the Cumberland County Superior Court, but the Department of Human Services refused to give any statements.

The nurses will be charged with endangering the welfare of a disabled person, and two of the former nurses will be charged with “official misconduct and falsifying or tampering with records.”

[Image courtesy of Chirstopher Furlong / Getty Images]