A Kentucky healthcare worker is facing criminal charges for sexually abusing a patient whom he was “supposed” to be caring for. Eric W. Barnett, who is employed with NHC Healthcare, turned himself in last week to Madisonville Police after a call came into the department around 2:40 a.m. claiming the staff member had sexually abused a 79-year-old, non-verbal resident. When police arrived at the facility after receiving the phone call, Barnett left prior to their arrival. Officers then attempted to locate the worker, but apparently were unsuccessful. Barnett, knowing he had committed a crime, eventually chose to turn himself in later on in the day.
As a result of his behavior, Barnett has been charged with a single count of first-degree sexual abuse, however, it is still unknown whether this was the first time Barnett abused the woman or any other resident at the facility during the time he was working there. He is currently being held in Hopkins County Jail on a $5,000 cash bail bond [Source: The Messenger]. In the state of Kentucky, “first-degree sexual abuse is considered a Class D felony and carries a possible punishment of one to five years in prison” so if Barnett wants to stand any chance in court, he is going to want to hire a defense attorney to represent him.
NHC’s regional vice president didn’t comment on Barnett’s current employment status but did state that they were fully cooperating with law enforcement. A statement was also issued on behalf of the NHC Corporation saying “We are always committed to providing high-quality care and the best outcome for our patients at all of our centers. We deeply regret the occurrence of the alleged incident here at NHC Madisonville, and upon discovery of this inappropriate behavior by a caregiver, the proper protocols were followed by our partners and the authorities were notified by NHC. We are fully cooperating and will continue to fully cooperate with authorities as needed.”
Unfortunately, not all facilities handle abuse and neglect cases properly.
The fact is, there are plenty of times where a nursing home facility fails to report a case of abuse to the local authorities which only results in it continuing and possibly worsening in nature. There have been times where families who had a loved one living in a nursing home reported signs of abuse and/or neglect, and while they were informed that everything was OK and that it would be taken care of, it only got worse. And that is when a nursing home abuse attorney should be called upon as they can work to ensure the proper protocols are followed and that justice is served to those who behaved inappropriately or illegally.
If you have an elderly loved one living in a nursing home in Louisville, KY and believe they aren’t being treated properly yet the facility isn’t taking your claims seriously, now would be a good time to contact USAttorneys.com. We have the ability to connect you with some of the top performing nursing home abuse attorneys in and nearby to Louisville, KY who can help you to get your voice heard.