Arrests in Long Island nursing home death

Josh Einiger reports from Medford, Long Island
April 7, 2014 9:43:49 AM PDT
Nine people have been arrested following an investigation of a Long Island nursing home by the state attorney general's office.

Prosecutors say one of the defendants is being charged with criminally negligent homicide following the death of a patient.

The arrests range from the highest administrator to a low level aide.

"They took my strength who she was. She gave me my strength and made me tough. Now I gotta be tough for her," said Michelle Giamarino.

Giamarino's mother Aurelia Rios was never supposed to die at the Medford Multicare Center, where she'd gone for rehab after a hospital stay for a breathing disorder.

But prosecutors allege Kethie Joseph a licensed practical nurse failed to read doctors orders that Rios be hooked up to a ventilator.

Over two hours, unattended, the 72 year old suffocated as warning alarms blared and no one raised a finger to help.

"I just pray that she was asleep. I don't want her to be awake, try to scream and no sound came out," adds Giamarino.

Even worse, prosecutors say administrator David Fielding conspired with others to cover up the incompetence and never reported the death to authorities. Rios' daughter was told she died of a heart attack.

"Any time we receive criticism like this, it's disappointing," said Andrew Moesel.

But at Medford Multicare, a spokesman said none of the nine had been disciplined, before their arrests Tuesday morning.

After being asked questions, the spokesperson said "I'm sorry we can't comment on that now because it's a matter of litigation."

More Details On The Suspects:
Kethlie Joseph, 61 of Brentwood is charged with criminally negligent homicide for the death of the 72 year old patient. Joseph is accused of not reading doctors orders to keep the patient on a ventilator overnight which resulted in the patient death. She is also accused of not responding to visual and audio alarms alerting staff of the patient in distress. Kimberly Lappe, 31 of Medford is also accused of not responding to visual and audio alarms despite being just inches from the monitors that were going off. She is also accused of falsifying records stating that nurses responded to those alarms. Christina Corelli, 37, of East Patchogue is also charged with not responding to the alarms, and is accused of stating they alarms were not beeping and that the patient was breathing normally. Officials say records indicate the alarm system was activated the entire time Corelli was in the room with the patient. Patricial Giovanni, 62, of Port Jefferson is also charged with not responding to the alarms. Giovanni was assigned to sit at the bedside of the patient.

Two administrators, David Fielding and Christine Boylan were also arrested and charged with concealing records documenting the alarm system going off. Authorities say a whistle blower is the one that informed authorities of the incident.