A nurse who tended to an 84-year-old Korean War veteran who died last year pleaded guilty Monday to a misdemeanor charge of failing to care for him properly, the New York State attorney general said.
Joyce Opoku, a licensed practical nurse from New Windsor, New York, was arrested in June after the veteran died at the state Veterans' Home at Montrose. She pleaded guilty to one count of willful violation of health laws and likely faces probation when sentenced on Feb. 2, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. Upon entering the plea in Cortlandt Town Court, Opoku also agreed to surrender her nursing license.
The 41-year-old, who was charged along with Isabelle Todman, a certified nurse's aide from Peekskill, originally faced two counts of falsifying business records in addition to willful violation.
Todman, 62, was charged with four counts of falsifying business records and three counts of willful violation of health laws. Her prosecution continues, the attorney general said.
The Korean War veteran, who suffered from dementia and Parkinson's disease, was found on the floor beside his bed in the early morning of May 1, 2013.
He was later pronounced dead from causes unrelated to his fall.
Opoku, the charge nurse for his unit, was required to check on his well-being twice during her overnight shift because he had a history of falls, Schneiderman said.
She was also required to check on his bed alarm, which was programmed to sound if there was a change in pressure on the mattress.
Video surveillance shows that Opoku did not enter the man's room at all until she was called in by the aide who found him on the floor at the end of the shift, Schneiderman said.
"This nurse failed in her duty of care to a war veteran who relied upon her," Schneiderman said.
"My office will not tolerate any health care professionals who jeopardize the well-being of New Yorkers in need."