A registered nurse was charged Friday with aggravated abuse of a disabled or elder adult in the death of a resident at a Salt Lake care facility that was recently closed by the state.
Police planned to arrest Robert Wilson in Kaysville Friday morning. The second-degree felony charge was filed in 3rd District Court.Wilson, age unknown, was the nurse on duty the night Sandra K. Gordon died at the Rosewood Terrace Care Center, 158 N. 600 West. The 45-year-old woman died sometime during the early morning hours of Jan. 6 when she slipped off her bed after being left all night in the chest and waist restraints and was strangled, according to police reports and court documents.
Wilson was the nurse in charge of caring for Gordon the night she died, and he directed that the restraints be placed on her in violation of the facility's policies, the charges state.
When she was found dead, the staff didn't attempt CPR or call paramedics. Workers did move the woman from the floor to the bed and removed the restraints, according to an investigation by state and federal regulators.
The death was reported to state health officials when they visited the center that morning as part of a separate investigation into the death of another resident.
Medical examiner Todd Grey ruled Gordon's death a homicide.
John Pace, attorney for the Disability Law Center, has urged the Salt Lake District Attorney's Office to hold Rosewood officials criminally responsible.
Friday, he said he hoped charges against Rosewood's administrators were still being considered.
"They were ordered more than two years before Sandra Gordon was strangled to implement training and monitoring in the use of restraints. They never did it," Pace said. "It was specifically lack of expertise in the use and monitoring of restraints that resulted in her murder. We think management is culpable."
Rosewood had been found repeatedly deficient in caring for its elderly and disabled patients since late 1995 and fined more than $300,000. After Gordon's death, the state Department of Health took over the facility. It eventually lost its Medicaid certification and was closed.
The managers, Linda Noyes and Roma LaPutka of Provider Management Systems Inc. filed a lawsuit March 3 against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the federal Health Care Financing Administration and the Utah Department of Health for violating their civil rights. Earlier this month, the nonprofit Disability Law Center filed a suit against Noyes and LaPutka claiming the women had misappropriated patients' money.
Pace said the egregious circumstances in Gordon's case justified the charges against the nurse.