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Windsor Twp. woman neglected elderly patient, AG's office says

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A Windsor Township woman who previously worked at a local nursing home is charged for allegedly failing to properly care for an elderly patient who subsequently fell out of bed and suffered injuries, according to the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office.

Mary Ella Torbert, 63, of Crescent Road, remains free on $5,000 unsecured bail, charged with the misdemeanor offenses of neglect of a care-dependent person and reckless endangerment.

She was arraigned Wednesday, Aug. 29, by District Judge Scott Laird, according to court records.

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Torbert could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday. She did not answer a phone call to her home.

According to charging documents, Torbert at the time worked as a home-care associate for Country Meadows at Home in Hershey.

Torbert was among the caregivers tasked with providing 24-hour direct supervision to an elderly resident at Country Meadows of York/South, 2670 Pine Grove Road in York Township, documents state.

Constant care: The patient — who was admitted there in January after suffering a stroke — was at risk of falling and required constant supervision as well as two caregivers to "assist with transfers" at all times, documents state.

According to documents, Torbert was supposed to be watching the patient on April 1 but left the woman's room to do laundry about 9 p.m.

When Torbert returned, she found the patient lying on the floor, documents state.

An aide happened to walk by at the time and asked Torbert if she needed help, and Torbert told her that she and the patient "had bumped heads," according to documents.

It was later determined the patient — whose name is being withheld by The York Dispatch — suffered bleeding on her brain, a broken hip and a fractured thumb when she fell out of bed, documents state.

Torbert later told investigators that she was supposed to watch the patient at all times and have someone replace her if she had to leave the patient's room, according to charging documents.

Left alone? Torbert then admitted she left the sleeping woman alone, documents allege.

The extent of the patient's injuries became known after a different caregiver noticed the patient "was showing symptoms of an altered mental (state)" and she underwent a CT scan and other examinations, according to documents.

"The defendant confirmed that at this time, she did not correct her earlier statement and reveal the extent of the incident," documents state.

On April 5, the patient's daughter called Torbert to ask what had happened, at which point Torbert admitted "that she lied about bumping heads with (the patient) and that she had actually left (the woman) unattended, leading to an unwitnessed fall," according to charging documents.

An agent with the Medicaid Fraud Control Section of the AG's office investigated the case after receiving a referral from the state Department of Aging, documents state.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.