August 5, 2005
LICENSED NURSE SENTENCED FOR NEGLECT
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
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.
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.
case was prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the
Attorney General’s Office which has authority
to investigate and prosecute abuse or neglect of vulnerable adults.