Health Care

A nursing home resident spit food — and a health aide is in trouble for her response

A slap to the face of an 81-year-old nursing home resident cost a South Miami-Dade certified nursing assistant her job — and possibly her license.

The Florida Department of Health slapped Marlen Guerra Reyes with an Emergency Suspension Order (ESO) on her certification in February and filed an Administrative Complaint asking the Board of Nursing for further punishment for what happened at Harmony Health Center on Dec. 29.

While working at the Kendall nursing home, Reyes was feeding “C.P.,” described in the ESO as “suffering from physical limitations, organic brain damage, dementia with behavioral disturbances, major depression, Parkinson's disease, hypertension, and lack of capacity to consent.”

At one point, the suspension order said, C.P. spit food out of her mouth.

“After C.P. spit her food out, another HHC staff member witnessed Ms. Reyes strike C.P. on the mouth, leaving redness under her lip,” the ESO said.

Reyes was fired. No charges were filed.

Reyes became licensed Sept. 14, 2016. She has no other discipline actions.

The ESO says slapping a suffering elderly person “indicates that Ms. Reyes lacks the judgment or moral character, patience, and compassion necessary to practice as a nursing assistant in a manner that is safe for patients. Ms. Reyes' disregard for the laws and rules, governing the practice of nursing assistance shows that her continued practice as a nursing assistant presents an immediate, serious danger to the health, welfare, and safety of the public.”

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal