(CN) – The California Attorney General on Wednesday charged employees at a Southern California nursing home with drugging old people merely to make their jobs easier, killing three people in the process.
Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced on Wednesday the arrests of Gwen Hughes, former Director of Nursing at the facility, Debbi Hayes, former pharmacist, and Dr. Hoshang Pormir, staff physician.
At least twenty two patients at the skilled nursing facility, all suffering from Alzheimers and other forms of dementia, were being given high doses of psychotropic or consciousness altering medications, said the state’s complaint.
Hughes allegedly order the administration of these drugs to patients who argued with her, were noisy, or otherwise disruptive. She did not have a prescription for the drugs, but depended on Hayes to provide them. Dr. Pormir approved Hughes use of the drugs only sometime after they had already been administered.
Attorney General Brown is alleging that the misuse of the drugs caused three deaths, bodily injury, and medical complications including the inability to eat or drink properly.
The case was brought to light by an ombudsman who reported the abuse at Kern Valley Healthcare District. An investigation ensued resulting in the issuance of a Certificate of Immediate Jeopardy by the Department of Public Health.
The individuals will be held at the Kern County Jail in Bakersfield until their arraignment on Friday. If convicted, each could face up to eleven years in prison. See complaint