NEWS RELEASE
Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.


May 16, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

FORMER NURSING ASSISTANT PLEADS GUILTY TO ABUSE, SENTENCED TO 40 DAYS IN JAIL

Baltimore - Attorney General, J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that a former geriatric nursing assistant, Brenda Pointer, plead guilty to two counts of abusing vulnerable nursing home resident. Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Roger W. Brown sentenced Pointer to 18 months in jail, with all but 40 days suspended, and placed her on probation for two years.

Pointer, 39, of 15 North Calhoun Street in Baltimore, was employed to provide care for residents at the Levindale Nursing Home, 3424 W. Belvedere Avenue, Baltimore. In the early morning hours of November 12, 2000, another nursing assistant heard the sounds of slapping and hitting outside an elderly woman's room. When the witness entered the room, he saw Pointer striking an 87-year-old woman who suffers from dementia. Pointer struck the woman in the chest and stomach with her fist The witness managed to separate Pointer from the victim, at which time Pointer left the room.

Approximately 15 minutes later, the same witness came upon Pointer in the room of a 78-year-old man who also suffered from dementia. Pointer was trying to strike the resident in the face but the resident had his hands up in front of himself trying to deflect the blows. When the resident turned to see the witness enter the room, Pointer struck the resident in the eye and then in his upper body. The resident sustained a black eye and was taken to the hospital due to his injury.

"The actions of this person are not only illegal, they strike fear in the minds of the countless people faced with the decision of placing a loved one in a nursing home," Attorney General Curran said. "This kind of behavior leaves a black eye on the nursing home industry that is unfair to the many decent professionals who genuinely care for the people in their charge."

This case was prosecuted by the Patient Abuse Unit of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of Maryland's Attorney General's Office. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit has jurisdiction to prosecute abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults in Medicaid funded facilities.

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