Pathetic: Nursing home assistants accused of abusing frail Alzheimer's patient plead not guilty

The two nursing assistants who are charged with abusing a 78-year-old patient at MetroHealth went before a judge Monday morning.

45-year-old Virgen Caraballo pleaded not guilty to thirteen counts of patient abuse, and 25-year-old Maria Karban pleaded not guilty to one count of patient abuse.

Caraballo and Karban are employed by the Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Center at MetroHealth.

The 78-year-old female victim has been a patient for three years at the Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Center at MetroHealth located on Scranton Road in Cleveland. She suffers from Alzheimer's Disease and requires assistance from staff for all her needs.

Between April 8, 2011 and May 15, 2011, Caraballo and Karban abused the victim while providing her care. The victim's son set up a hidden camera in an air purifier in the hospital room. Videos depicted acts of patient abuse involving Caraballo that included rough (forceful) transfers from the bed to the wheelchair, tossing the patient in a rough manner onto the bed, and pushing the patient's face into her bed while performing personal hygiene. Additionally, one of the videos depicted Karban spraying the patient directly in the face with body spray.

Both women were ordered to stay away from the victim.

Metro released the following statement:

As soon as we saw the tapes, Virgen Caraballo was removed from patient care and later terminated. Maria Karban is on unpaid administrative leave, pending further review and investigation. In addition, as a result of our investigation, two other nursing aides were terminated for mistreatment, another was suspended for failure to report mistreatment, and three others were disciplined for not following proper procedure. MetroHealth absolutely does not tolerate abuse of any patient under any circumstances. Excellence in patient care is our top priority at The Prentiss Center. We will continue to fully cooperate with all investigations regarding The Prentiss Center and we are deeply sorry that this happened.

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