Karen Buck, a CNA in Muncie, Indiana, is facing Class D felony (abuse of individuals who are physically or mentally disabled) battery charges after allegedly slapping a 94-year-old nursing home resident in the mouth. The alleged incident took place in June 2, 2007 at the Golden Living Center after the nursing home resident became agitated when Buck began to change the dressings on her feet with open wounds. The resident was unable to speak due to complications from a stroke. Authorities were tipped off to this incident following the report from Buck’s co-worker who saw the nursing home abuse taking place.
Officials from the nursing home claim the incident was investigated by officials from the state, ombudsman and police without any substantiated findings of abuse. Despite the nursing homes claims, the case against Buck is proceeding to trial on April 24th. Additionally, the family of the elderly woman who was involved in this incident has filed a civil lawsuit based on nursing home negligence against the the CNA as well as the nursing home for the woman’s injuries.
Frequently, criminal cases like this never proceed to trial due to evidentary problems. In this case, the prosecutor must rely exclusively on the CNA who allegedly witnessed this battery and reported it to authorities. As with many nursing home workers who grip tight to their jobs, it will be interesting to see if this CNA will be willing to tell her story to a jury. Read more about this case of nursing home abuse in Indiana here.
For laws related to Indiana nursing homes, look here.