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AG: Long Island nursing aide dropped quadriplegic patient

Prosecutors accuse Jolly Stewart, 55, of Middle Island, of endangering a patient while working at a skilled nursing facility in 2012.
Credit: NYS Attorney General

A Long Island nursing aide is accused of endangering and neglecting a quadriplegic patient when she allegedly dropped the 57-year-old and then tried to cover up the woman’s injuries, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Friday.

Jolly Stewart, 55, of Middle Island, was released without bail Thursday after being arraigned on charges that include willful violation of health laws, endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person and first-degree falsifying business records.

Prosecutors say she was working as a certified nurse’s aide at the John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility in Yaphank in August 2012 when she “improperly transferred” a quadriplegic patient from a wheelchair to a bed using a mechanical lift, but allegedly didn’t seek help from other staff members, which was required in the patient’s care plan.

The 57-year-old woman fell to the floor during the move and was left with a 5-inch gash on her head, a fractured knee and bruises to her heel and buttocks, the attorney general’s office charged.

“Short-circuiting a patient care plan puts patients in physical danger and is a crime,” Schneiderman said. “My office takes these cases extremely seriously and will seek justice for the victim and the victim’s loved ones.”

Prosecutors have asserted Stewart allegedly tried to “cover up the improper transfer and the resulting injuries.” When questioned by other nursing home staffers, Stewart denied transferring the patient alone and told them the woman’s own movements caused the bar on the lift to strike her in the head, Schneiderman said.

The attorney general also said Stewart made a note in the woman’s medical record that she rendered all care according to the woman’s care plan.

Attempts to reach Stewart for comment on Friday were unsuccessful and her attorney did not immediately return a message left at his office.

The John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Center was a 264-bed public residential facility that mainly served long-term-care patients and was operated by Suffolk County until it was shuttered in June 2013. A spokeswoman for the county did not respond to an email requesting comment on the allegations.