Indiana nurse is under investigation after elderly COVID-19 nursing home patient died when she removed his oxygen mask and asked him if he 'wanted to let go and fly with the angels'

 A veteran nurse could face criminal charges after she allegedly removed an elderly COVID-19 nursing home patient's oxygen mask without a doctor's order, leaving him to die. 

The unnamed nurse, who had been working at the Wedgewood Healthcare Center in southern Indiana, is the subject of a health inspection report detailing the incident.

Clarksville Police Chief Mark Palmer and Ohio-based Communicare, the operator of the nursing home, told IndyStar that the attorney general is investigating.  

In the report, the resident - identified as 'Resident B' - had endured days of aggressive oxygen treatment while suffering with COVID-19. No further care was provided to the resident for nearly eight hours until his death after the nurse asked him if he wanted to 'fly with the angels' and took his mask off.

The unnamed nurse, who had been working at the Wedgewood Healthcare Center in southern Indiana, is the subject of a health inspection report

The unnamed nurse, who had been working at the Wedgewood Healthcare Center in southern Indiana, is the subject of a health inspection report

The nurse would take to social media to share what happened in the resident's final moments. 

 'I just want y'all to know the hardest thing I've ever done in 28 years start a patient on O2 for 4 days 12 LPM. with a non-rebreather mask,' she wrote in the post. 

'I asked him on day 4 if he's tired he said yes I said do you want me to take all this off for you and let you go and fly with the angels and he said yes. I took it all off of him I went in the hallway and I cried and I let him go and he passed away ... after I left.'

The inspectors cited the facility for abuse and neglect, failure to notify changes in the resident's condition, and other violations. 

The inspection found that neither the doctor of the resident nor their family members were alerted of the oxygen mask until after the resident had died. 

According to the report, the nurse's actions were only made known to the facility after another employee took screenshots of the social media post and sent them to the nursing home's executive director. 

The nurse's actions give insight to just some of the extremes taken by health care professionals during the pandemic, especially in nursing homes across the country.  

During Indiana's first peak of coronavirus cases, Wedgewood was among the hardest hit facilities. Some 70 residents tested positive for the virus and 20 have died at the 124-bed facility. 

In the report, the resident - identified as 'Resident B' - had endured days of aggressive oxygen treatment while suffering with COVID-19. No further care was provided to the resident for nearly eight hours until his death after the nurse took the resident's mask off

In the report, the resident - identified as 'Resident B' - had endured days of aggressive oxygen treatment while suffering with COVID-19. No further care was provided to the resident for nearly eight hours until his death after the nurse took the resident's mask off

The facility - owned by Columbus Regional Hospital - has scored a 'much below average' staff rating from federal regulators and was in the bottom 15 percent for total staffing nationally.  

The nurse told inspectors that she had been having a 'terrible' week when she decided to remove the mask. She said she forgot to contact a doctor because she was taking care of more than 40 COVID-19 patients at the time. 

She could face criminal charges as Indiana doesn't have an assisted suicide law and helping a person end their life can be regarded as a crime.  

Beth DeFalco, spokeswoman for Communicare, confirmed that the incident was being investigated by the attorney general. DeFalco added that the company was cooperating 'at every step.' 

'Communicare staff have worked tirelessly to care for our residents during this global pandemic and we have followed all state and federal safety guidelines,' she added.  

Indiana nurse is under investigation after elderly COVID-19 nursing home patient died when she removed his oxygen mask and asked him if he 'wanted to let go and fly with the angels' Indiana nurse is under investigation after elderly COVID-19 nursing home patient died when she removed his oxygen mask and asked him if he 'wanted to let go and fly with the angels' Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 06:42 Rating: 5

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