Nine arrested after patient dies at Suffolk nursing home

A.G. Schneiderman: negligence to blame for death of 72 year-old; claims employees attempted cover up


Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the arrests of nine people on Tuesday following the investigation of a Suffolk County nursing home that uncovered "an extensive pattern of resident neglect and systematic corporate looting."

Seven of the arrests, according Schneiderman, are in connection with the 2012 death of a 72-year-old resident at the Medford Multicare Center for Living, Inc. in Medford — identified in published reports as Aurelia Rios — for what was supposed to be temporary rehabilitation. Rios, Schneiderman said, was supposed to be connected to a ventilator per her doctor’s orders, but nurses never hooked up the device, and allegedly ignored warning alarms as she suffocated to death.

Kethlie Joseph, 61, of Brentwood, was charged with criminally negligent homicide in the woman’s death. According to Schneiderman, Joseph, a licensed professional trained in administering treatment to ventilator-dependent residents, admitted to never reading a doctor’s orders requiring the resident to be connected to a ventilator machine at night.

“As a result, the resident was not connected to the ventilator when she went to sleep, and she died that night,” Schneiderman said. “Joseph not only ignored alarms for more than two hours, but also ignored messages to her pager when the resident stopped breathing. Furthermore, video surveillance captured Joseph walking toward her office and not reappearing until hours later. Only after an unassigned nurse’s aide finally went to check on the resident did she receive medical attention, but by then, she had likely been dead for some time.

The corporation operating the home and the facility’s top administrator were also charged with trying to cover up the circumstances surrounding the death, prosecutors said. The center’s licensed administrator, David Fielding, 56, of Lido Beach, and its director of respiratory therapy, Christine Boylan, 49, of Mastic, were also arrested and charged with concealing computer records documenting the alarms that “signified the resident’s distress from the NYS Department of Health during the course of its investigation, in an attempt to cover up the incident.”

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