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Home health-care nurses abused an elderly stroke victim in an incident caught on tape, and the suspects may face criminal and civil charges.
The family of the unidentified 98-year-old patient hired private nurses to care for the elderly woman at her home, at a pay rate of $1,300 a day, reports the New York Daily News.
But when the family hired the nurses, they also installed a security camera so that they could monitor her care. What they found on the tape shocked them: Two male nurses were allegedly caught performing sex acts on each other -- and also molesting the bedridden patient.
Dressed in their nursing uniforms, San Diego nurses Russel Torralba and Alfredo Ruiz of AMS Home Care Solutions allegedly fondled one another. One nurse then placed the helpless patient's hand down his pants, writes the Daily News. The family claims the patient is aware of her surroundings, but is unable to call for help.
Prosecutors are reviewing the case for possible criminal charges, and the state is reportedly working on stripping the nurses of their licenses.
In the meantime, relatives of the alleged victim also may be preparing a lawsuit against the nurses and their staffing company.
Typically, an injured person has standing to bring a lawsuit. However, in the case of an incapacitated person, the family of that person may have the right to sue on her behalf if they have a durable power of attorney over that individual.
A durable power of attorney just means that the now-incapacitated person had signed over the rights to make legal and financial decisions on her behalf in the event she became incapacitated.
If there is no durable power of attorney, angered family members of the alleged nursing abuse may be able to sue for their own damages. This could potentially include emotional distress in knowing that a loved one was sexually abused and molested by those in charge of her care.