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For Immediate Release
August 5, 2005
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357


Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that Licensed Practical Nurse Augustine Okafor, 49, of the 3400 block of Maryvale Road, was sentenced to five years in jail with the entire sentence suspended for intentionally neglecting a vulnerable adult who was in his care. Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge John M. Glynn also sentenced Okafor to three years probation and directed that Okafor refrain from providing direct patient care during the period of probation. The Board of Nursing has summarily suspended Okafor’s nursing license.

In June, after a week long trial, a Baltimore City Jury found Okafor guilty of Felony and Misdemeanor Neglect of a Vulnerable Adult. A conviction for Felony Neglect requires a jury finding that the neglect resulted in serious physical injury or death to the victim.

Okafor was working the 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. shift from November 15-16, 2002 as a Licensed Practical Nurse at Villa St. Michael Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Baltimore City. Nursing home resident Bertha Small, 89, had returned from Maryland General Hospital on the afternoon of the 15th after having a feeding tube inserted to assist her with eating. Mr. Okafor was not to have fed Ms. Small at all during his shift. However, at 1:30 a.m., when Mr. Okafor found that Ms. Small had already received 1500 mls. of fluid, which was three times more than what the doctor’s order said, he nevertheless hung another 1500 ml. bag of tube feeding for Ms. Small and kept the feeding tube running throughout the night. When Okafor found Ms. Small to be in distress with labored breathing, a distended abdomen, sweating profusely, and moaning and groaning in pain as a result of the overfeeding, Okafor failed to provide her with necessary and essential medical treatment and failed to call 911. Ms. Small remained in distress, gasping for air for several hours, until the nurse who relieved Okafor came on shift and ordered that 911 be called. At 7:30 a.m., while medical personnel were administering CPR to Ms. Small, almost 1800 mls. of feeding fluid began to pour out of her mouth. Ms. Small could not be revived and was pronounced dead at Sinai Hospital. The cause of death was asphyxia due to overfeeding.

The case was prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office which has authority to investigate and prosecute abuse or neglect of vulnerable adults.



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