Health Care

One health aide threw wipes at an 87-year-old. Others pushed and punched patients

A nursing assistant had her license suspended for violence toward a patient.
A nursing assistant had her license suspended for violence toward a patient.

Punching out a mentally ill patient and calling a nearly immobile patient “half a woman” for soiling herself were among the abuse that caused the Florida Department of Health to suspend the licenses of one registered nurse and two certified nursing assistants in November.

Lehigh Acres resident Pauline Morency, Macclenny resident Samathan Dendauw and Bradenton resident Nathan Castleman each can petition for the suspensions by Emergency Suspension Order (ESO) to be reviewed.

Dendauw also got slapped with a charge of abuse of elderly or disabled person without great harm. The case is making its way through the Baker County court system.

Taking the suspensions in reverse alphabetical order:

Pauline Morency

Morency, 53, has had her certified nursing assistant license since 1998. According to her ESO, she worked at Barrington Terrace, a Fort Myers assisted living facility, until a pair of incidents in August.

On Aug. 8, patient B.M., described in the ESO as needing help with “activities of daily living and is not able to ambulate without assistance,” soiled herself because she couldn’t get to the bathroom without help. She asked Morency for help with the personal cleanup.

“Ms. Morency reluctantly agreed to assist Patient B.M., but told Patient B.M. that she was “half a woman” for soiling herself,” the ESO said. “Ms. Morency’s verbal abuse made Patient B.M. feel embarrassed and ashamed.”

The ESO said 87-year-old N.O. felt worse after her 3:30 a.m. encounter with Morency on Aug. 21.

N.O., who was still recovering from a broken clavicle (shoulder blade), asked for Morency’s help to get to the restroom. Morency said she had to get gloves first. By the time she returned, N.O. had soiled herself.

“Ms. Morency told Patient N.O. to clean herself and then threw Wet Wipes at her,” the ESO said. “Patient N.O. responded that she could not clean herself due to injury. Ms. Morency told Patient N.O. ‘You have one good arm.’”

Morency eventually helped N.O. and began by rolling her onto her side, “causing Patient N.O.’s face to hit the wall.”

In pain from that contact, being rolled onto her bad shoulder and being rolled onto her hand, “Patient N.O. screamed for Ms. Morency to stop and that Ms. Morency was hurting her; however Ms. Morency kept Patient N.O. on her side until she had finished cleaning her.

“When Ms. Morency finished cleaning Patient N.O., she threw Patient N.O.’s blanket over her face.”

Later that day, a nurse practitioner examined N.O. after the senior citizen told her what had happened. She found bruising on an arm and hand. A DCF investigator saw the same thing.

A DCF investigation ended with “verified findings of maltreatment and physical injury to Patient N.O.” She was fired Aug. 28. The Department of Health dropped the ESO on her Tuesday.

Samantha Dendauw

Dendauw, 22, just got her certified nursing assistant license in May. She was working at Northeast Florida State Hospital, a Macclenny behavioral clinic that deals with people with “severe and persistent mental health illness,” the ESO said.

A Baker County Sheriff’s Office sergeant described what he saw on security camera footage from the morning of Aug. 4 for an arrest report.

He said a female resident, identified in the ESO as 41-year-old V.S., walked up the nurses’ station. While V.S. appeared to ask for something, Dendauw put both her hands on V.S.’s shoulders. She then “pushed the resident hard, causing her to fall to the floor and hit her head.”

The ESO said Dendauw “continuously taunted” V.S., who had been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder-bipolar type, before pushing her to the floor.

On the video, the sergeant said, V.S. rose and went to the other side of the nurses station. Dendauw tried to push her from the nurses station. Katie Jacobs showed up to help Dendauw and together they pushed V.S. onto the nurses desk.

“The video showed Katie grab the resident by the hair, forcing her head to hit the desk and Samantha hold her down with her forearm on her neck area,” the arrest report says.

Both she and Jacobs were arrested.

When she applied to what DCF says is the state’s “largest provider of civil service,” the ESO says, Dendauw wrote that she was “a people person” who was “good at handling situations with upset persons.”

Nathan Castleman

Castleman has been a registered nurse since 2011. On Sept. 28, he was working at Centerstone Behavioral Hospital and Addiction Center in Bradenton when B.G., a 29-year-old man, was admitted.

“During Patient B.G.’s admission, Mr. Castleman punched, or struck, Patient B.G. approximately three times in the face,” the ESO said. “Patient B.G. suffered from swelling, tooth pain and a bloody nose.”

The ESO came down on Nov. 15.