A nurse in Statesville, NC is accused of assaulting a 91-year-old patient. She is denying the charges but was arrested on Monday.
Tamara Hager Brito is charged with assault of a handicapped patient and false imprisonment. She was an employee of Iredell Memorial Hospital, but when the report about the incident surfaced she was suspended. Once the investigation was finished she was fired.
According to another employee of the facility, the patient was under Brito's care and was tied to the bed. She also sprayed lotion in the patient's face.
Adminstration said that restraints are not allowed in this area of the hospital.
Another incident occurred on March 4. Brito was moving a patient with another employee. When the patient became uncooperative Brito allegedly sprayed the patient in the face with lotion.
There was a bail of $20,000, Brito met the bail requirement and has now been released from jail.
According to Brito's attorney, Martin Gottholm, his client is not guilty of the charges. He also said the she has a 30-year history as a nurse and an impeccable record.
"Boy, do I look forward to our day in court," Gottholm said.
According to Gottholm, “She took a pillowcase, folded it over about four times, taped one end of it to the bed frame with the extra remaining taped it to the patient’s wrist just so he could not hit her or other staff members, which had been happening for the past month and had not been addressed at all by hospital administrators,"
"After folding the pillowcase and taping it over the bed rail, she folded the pillowcase around his wrist and taped the pillowcase to itself," Gottholm added. "No tape directly to patient’s wrist."
This was to protect the patient from harm and to protect Brito from injury.
Brito denies spraying lotion on the patient's face.
“Categorically false. She sprayed something in a washcloth to clean him up. It’s a substance used to clean his face because he spit out his applesauce which they used for the patients to ingest their medications," Gottholm added.
"This is truly a travesty of justice," Gottholm, a former judge and prosecutor, added. “She might have violated their policy but she actually was caring more for the patient.”
Brito said the patient had a history of being uncooperative and combative and should not have been designated to a restraint free area.
According to Brito when she arrived at the police station to discuss the incident she was not interviewed, instead, she was immediately handcuffed and arrested.
“The employees at Iredell Memorial are very committed to providing the highest quality of care to all of our patients. Any allegations of inappropriate conduct are taken seriously and carefully investigated," Ed Rush, President and CEO of Iredell Health Systems said in a release.
"We want to assure the community that nothing is more important to Iredell Memorial than providing excellent patient care," Rush continued. "The actions of one individual do not reflect the hard work and dedication of the more than 1500 individuals who work every day to safely provide quality healthcare with compassion to our patients.”