Four former employees of Brompton Heights senior living facility in Williamsville have been charged with endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person, and endangering the welfare of an incompetent person – a felony and a misdemeanor.
This comes following an incident that took place the night of Dec. 8, 2017 when an 87-year-old resident was able to wander outside the facility. She was found hours later wearing only a nightgown, nearly unconscious and suffering from hypothermia and frostbite.
According to State Attorney General Letitia James, person care assistants George Stokes, LaQuanda Johnson and Caprice Newbern – as well as medical technician Stephanie Shinault – had been working that night.
The report states Stokes had fallen asleep for several hours when he was supposed to be monitoring the residents who lived on the hall. Johnson, Newbern and Shinault then ignored or muted alarms that were set off when the woman went outside. The three employees then allegedly left the building to take a break together, even though they knew Stokes was asleep.
An official from Brompton Heights tells News 4 the facility conducted its own independent investigation after the incident and terminated the four employees in question for violating “multiple organizational policies.”
News 4 also received a statement from the Department of Health, which oversees senior living facilities across the state.
The statement says the department “immediately began an investigation of the incident, which led to Brompton Heights being cited for multiple deficiencies. The department will continue to hold providers accountable for their actions.”
According to the State Attorney General’s Office, Stokes will re-appear in Amherst Town Court on July 18. Johnson, Newbern and Shinault are expected back in court on August 8.
The state did not immediately respond to News 4’s questions about the current condition of the elderly resident who wandered outside.
According to Department of Health data, 138 violations were found over the course of 36 inspections of Brompton Heights between 2015 and 2018. Additionally, eight violations have been discovered in 2019, according to a Brompton Heights spokesperson.
“Brompton Heights has made significant strides in compliance and addressing concerns,” a spokesperson for the facility said. “Specifically, Brompton Heights has focused on training, staffing and fostering a culture of compassion.
“Doubling down on employee training, quality assurance, and recruitment are all ways Brompton Heights has paved a path forward to provide excellent care to each of our residents.”