West Virginia Supreme Court Won’t Take Nurse Aide’s Name Off Abuse List

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has denied a request from a local nurse aide to have her name withdrawn from the state’s Nurse Aide Abuse Registry.

In a ruling filed Jan. 5, the court said it found “no substantial question of law and no prejudicial error” in upholding designation made by the state Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification that placed Sheena Mortimer on the abuse registry.

Mortimer worked as a long-term care nurse aide employed by Guardian Elder Care, also referred to as Peterson Rehabilitation Hospital in Wheeling, in 2015 when state health and human resources investigated allegations of abuse and neglect against her. According to state records, the allegations were substantiated after witnesses and the alleged patient victim were interviewed.

Records state Mortimer refused to render aid to a 79-year-old bedridden female patient who had soiled herself. Another nursing staff member found the patient in distress and in need of physical care. As the staff member was cleaning up the patient, the patient reportedly asked her why Mortimer was “so mean.”

The patient also said Mortimer moved her call light button out of reach. The call light was found wrapped around a chair, out of the patient’s reach. The patient’s roommate reportedly was instructed by Mortimer not to press the call light for the patient.

The patient’s medical condition required that she have assistance with activities for daily living, including being toileted every two hours, officials said.

According to state records, Mortimer, knowing the patient needed aid, refused to go into the patient’s room, stating the patient could “rot in there for all I care.” Mortimer allegedly used profanity in her comments about the patient.

Mortimer, who was assigned to seven rooms in a wing at the facility, denied the allegations and maintained that the patient “has a problem with me.” Mortimer claimed that the assistant director of nursing advised her not to enter the patient’s room alone because the patient was known to throw things.

Based on the testimony and evidence in the investigation, the court upheld the state’s decision to list Mortimer on the Nurse Aide Abuse and Neglect Registry.

Multiple attempts to reach officials at Peterson Rehabiliation Hospital for comment were unsuccessful.