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Nursing Home Employee Accused In Patient’s Death

Posted On February 05, 2014

By Mike Perleberg

Kathy Hess Dearborn County Sheriff's Dept.

Kathy Hess
Dearborn County Sheriff’s Dept.

(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – Families put their elderly loved ones in nursing homes so that they’ll be cared for in a respectful manner.

One local family found out that was not what was occurring with their loved one, Dionne Scalf. The treatment may have even led to the patient’s death.

Kathy Hess, a former employee of Woodland Hills Care Center in Lawrenceburg, was arrested and charged Tuesday with Battery Resulting in the Death of an Endangered Adult (Class B felony), Neglect of a Dependant Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury (Class B felony), and Reckless Homicide (Class C felony).

Dearborn-Ohio County Prosecutor Aaron Negangard detailed the investigation in a press release. It was just in the nick of time that the alleged abuse came to investigators’ attention.

According to the prosecutor, an eyewitness reported an incident at the nursing home where Hess had allegedly physically abused the 77-year-old Scalf. That eyewitness spoke to Jacob Jump, a Lawrenceburg police officer assigned to the Dearborn County Special Crimes Unit, during a family holiday dinner.

After learning of the allegations, Jump began to look into the matter. He discovered that Hess was the person who may have committed the abuse. Hess had been fired December 27 due to the incident.

Scalf was scheduled to be cremated. Her body was returned to the Dearborn County Coroner’s Office for an autopsy.

The results of that autopsy revealed that Scalf had suffered a broken vertebrae, which resulted in her death. The mechanism of the injury, investigators determined, was consistent with the description of the abuse given by the eyewitness.

Following further investigation, Hess was arrested.

Negangard credited the work of the Dearborn County Special Crimes Unit.

“The investigators did an exceptional job investigating this case. The unusual chain of events clearly shows the hand of God in ensuring that she was not cremated and that justice was done,” the prosecutor said.

Hess remains held at the Dearborn County Law Enforcement Center. Her bond has been set at $50,000 cash and $50,000 surety in Dearborn Superior Court I.

Woodland Hills Care Center provided a statement to WLWT-TV:

“Woodland Hills is committed to providing quality care by qualified professionals. The facility follows specific procedures regarding pre-employment screening, including but not limited to, verification of licensure/credentials, and ensuring there is no prior concern which should prevent a prospective employee from serving a dependent population.The facility is fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation and will continue to remain committed to providing quality care to the residents on a daily basis.”

7 comments
VanessaMoore
VanessaMoore

I worked with Kathy for ten years, Kathy was a good nurse and worked hard to see that the patients got the best care, this may have happened but got interpreted wrong...Phyllis Kegg

VanessaMoore
VanessaMoore

I think they went to far and the person who accused her of hurting that lady is a trouble maker, Kathy would have never hurt anyone on purpose, she was an awesome worker and loved them residents more than anything, she even took one of the residents under her wing and treated her like her own child, so whoever is trying to do this to Kathy, well you are the one who needs to be checked for an illness because you are a sick person!

SLW2014
SLW2014

This is why you need to be involved in your family members care at nursing homes! This can happen to anyone and unfortunately all we can do is make sure it does not! My grandmother was verbally abused at a local nursing home this year and if it wasnt for another employee turning her co worker in nothing would have been done. These health care workers are overworked and underpaid and it is a very sad state that our eldery are in. Please everyone pay attention to your family members that are in these facilities!!! 

ConcernedCitizen2014
ConcernedCitizen2014

This is such a sad story, not only because of the nursing home abuse. But because this poor woman didnt even want to be in the Nursing Home, she was forced there by adult protective services. The system failed Dionne Scalf for sure. Hope they investigate the state also! Prayers for both families.

deedee478
deedee478

Shame on the eye witness for not speaking up sooner! Many times allegations of abuse are a matter of perception and may not really be what it seems. If the eye witness was so convicted that she abused this woman why wait so long? If abuse really occurred, I know God will punish this woman. It's a tough and sticky situation. Let's not forget innocent until proven guilty here.

itibbits
itibbits

PRAYERS FOR BOTH FAMILIES..WE SHOULD NOT BE SO QUICK TO CONVICT KATHY SHE IS A VERY GOOD PERSON ..WE WERE NOT THERE AND DO NOT KNOW HER SIDE OF THE STORY.

DaveandJessicaMurphy
DaveandJessicaMurphy

My grandma passed away in 2012 and Kathy was her nurse during the day now this has me wondering if she did something to my grandma. This woman needs justice and god in her life how can u do something like this to someone. The nursing home needs to have better care and take their employee's more security