Md. Probes Elder Care Center After Patient Fall
HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — The owner of a western Maryland assisted-living center faces criminal charges and a licensing investigation after an 84-year-old Alzheimer’s patient crashed through the unfinished floor of a second-story room into the dining room below, police and state regulators said Monday.
The patient, Eileen Rindone, was in serious condition at the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Shock Trauma unit in Baltimore. She suffered several broken ribs and vertebrae, a broken pelvis, a broken ankle and a severe head injury, police said.
Dickson O. Tabi, the owner of Soma Manor Assisted Living in Boonsboro, is charged with one count of reckless endangerment and two counts of abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult. The charges carry maximum penalties totaling 25 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
Tabi was free on $20,000 bond. He didn’t immediately respond to questions emailed and faxed to the facility. His home telephone number, which matches the business number, was answered by a fax machine. Court records didn’t list a defense attorney.
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said the facility’s two other residents have been moved and the center is barred from accepting new patients while the agency investigates the incident. The facility is located about 15 miles northwest of Frederick.
State police said Tabi waited more than five hours to call an ambulance after the accident Thursday morning. He later told police he put Rindone to bed and tried to cover up the incident by patching the damaged ceiling, according to court records.
After her roommate told him that Rindone had a cut on her arm, Tabi called a doctor and told him Rindone had “sustained a fall” and couldn’t walk, court records state. On the doctor’s advice, Tabi called an ambulance, which took her to the local Meritus Medical Center Thursday evening.
Police were summoned to the hospital late Thursday night for what was reported as an assault. When an investigator questioned Tabi that night, he denied knowing how Rindone got hurt, according to court records.
On Friday, police spoke to Rindone’s doctor, who said her life threatening injuries would have made it impossible for her to have gotten into bed on her own. Police went back to Tabi, who denied having seen her fall or helping her into bed.
Police say Tabi confessed early Saturday morning after they started giving him a polygraph examination. He said he had heard the crash and found Rindone lying on the first floor beneath a hole in the drywall ceiling, according to court records. He said he had neglected to lock the stairwell door and also the door to a second-story room where the floor had been removed for renovations.
Rindone’s daughter, Michelle Carpenter, said in a telephone interview that her mother had been moved to Soma Manor from another facility last spring.
She said Soma Manor seemed like a nice place and Tabi seemed to be a caring person. She was sometimes concerned, though, because he was often the only caretaker there.
“It was a mistake and I’m sure he’s sorry for it,” Carpenter said. “But what’s done is done and unfortunately, people have to pay when they do things like this.”
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)