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Authorities: Nursing Home Boss Involved in Abuse

Authorities: Nursing Home Boss Involved in Abuse


December 27, 2008

PITTSBURGH — An Allegheny County nursing home nursing supervisor and four staffers are charged with the abusing a 94-year-old Alzheimer’s patient for months, including allegedly punching her in the face and stamping on her feet.

The employees had sole control of the unit housing the patient when they occasionally worked together on overnight shifts at Kane Regional Center’s Glen Hazel facility, county executive Dan Onorato said Friday.

The five were charged this week in the alleged abuse of Thelma Bryant, who uses a wheelchair and is unable to care for herself. The abuse spanned about six months, until another employee reported it in October, authorities said.

Mary Ann Bower, 57, of Munhall, was the licensed practical nurse in charge of four nursing assistants who are charged with assault, neglect and harassment. Bower, who was hired in 1987, was charged with harassment for allegedly throwing objects at the elderly woman and pouring water on her head.

The others were accused of elbowing Bryant in the chest, punching her in the eye, stamping on her feet and throwing oranges at her face, according to criminal complaints.

They were identified as Danielle Taylor, 46, of Pittsburgh; Shelly Keene, 35, of West Mifflin; Karen Perry, 46, of Homestead; and Shalaya Hatten, 30, of Pittsburgh. All have been fired.

Because a supervisor was involved, the mistreatment was able to go on for so long, said Kane executive director Dennis Biondo said. Bryant is now doing well, Biondo said.

No other patients or staff at the 210-bed facility reported abuse, authorities said.

“That’s the puzzling thing. There’s no explanation” of why Bryant was allegedly singled out, Biondo said.

None of the accused could immediately be reached for comment.

No additional arrests are expected, county police said. Onorato said the county will try to prevent the five from receiving pension and other benefits.

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