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The former nursing services director of a Far Rockaway nursing home was arrested on multiple accounts after a 74-year-old resident with dementia was reported missing, the state attorney general’s office said.
Juliet Clifford, 43, was the director of nursing services at Bishop Charles Waldo Maclean Episcopal Nursing in Far Rockaway and allegedly failed to call 911 after learning that resident Alan Frazer was missing from the facility, the attorney general said. Instead, Clifford told investigators that the patient left “against medical advice” and continued to falsify medical records, according to the criminal complaint filed in Queens Criminal Court.
Clifford is accused of removing notes from Frazer’s medical records after he disappeared and instructing a staff member to give false statements, the complaint said.
Frazer, who was still missing Wednesday afternoon, lives in Mount Vernon, N.Y. According to the complaint, he suffers from alcohol-related dementia.
Darlene Apura, a registered nurse, said she issued a “code pink” alert on Frazer’s absence May 26 around 12:10 p.m. and instructed staff members to begin searching for the patient. Later that day, at about 2:30pm, the “code pink” alert was canceled after Apura was informed by the defendant that the resident had, in fact, left against medical advice, the court papers said. Procedures were then followed based on the patient leaving of his own accord.
Sharon Bridgewater, a nurse’s aide, said Clifford conducted a meeting with staff members saying it was too late to call the police and risk having the facility penalized by the state, the complaint said.
The nursing home, located at 1711 Brookhaven Ave., had no comment on the case.
Thelma Harty, a registered nurse, was then directed to fabricate a medical note saying Frazer had left the nursing home against medical advice, the complaint said. Harty also watched as Clifford removed several pages form Frazer’s medical records, according to the attorney general.
When investigators from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit arrived and asked that 911 be called to report the missing person, Clifford refused, the office said. The facility was unable to produce the medical advice records and 911 was eventually called May 30 to report Frazer’s disappearance.
Clifford was charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, falsifying business records and willful violation of the health laws. If found guilty, Clifford could face up to four years in prison. She was not required to post bail and was scheduled to return to court June 21.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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