Nursing home employee charged, accused of cyberbullying 82-year-old Alzheimer's patient
EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this story listed Kelly Carleton as the director at SweetGrass Court Assisted Living. Carleton was listed in two lawsuits as the director of the facility. Since learning Carleton was not employed at SweetGrass Court Assisted Living, the attorney's office involved in the case has dropped her name from the civil suit.
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) - It's been a few months since a couple of employees at SweetGrass Court Assisted Living were caught verbally abusing their patients on Snapchat, and now one of them is being charged by police.
Mount Pleasant police announced late Friday night that 25-year-old Nandhina Lance was arrested and charged with being a peeping Tom. She was booked at the detention center and given a $10,000 bond the same day.
Police said Lance and another staff member were fired from SweetGrass Court back in March after they posted a video of themselves to Snapchat verbally abusing two patients.
According to a police report, the employees were seen telling one 82-year-old woman that "she is stupid, her mother is stupid, and not to touch them because she had bodily fluids on her hands."
The Post and Courier obtained the video in question and posted it to YouTube.
The executive director of SweetGrass Court told police the patients had been checked for physical abuse but no evidence was found.
Police said they asked one of the victims about the video and the verbal abuse but she did not remember it happening.
Officers asked the employees why they did it and they said "they thought it was funny."
The facility's parent company owned by Five Star Senior Living is facing two lawsuits from the families of the women who were abused.
One lawsuit claims wrongful death in the case of Alzheimer's patient Betty Dick, one of the women verbally assaulted in the video, by failing to "ensure the personal safety" of patients and failing to "assign sufficient and qualified staff."
The lawsuit claims the Snapchat video caused the patient to "suffer severely, including without limitation developing a stomach ulcer which led to her death" and that she suffered "severe debilitating injuries which resulted in permanent decline, as a result of which the Plaintiff has suffered severe and emotional distress, anxiety, physical injuries, medical bills, the likes of which no person should endure."
The suit also claims SweetGrass failed to "establish and maintain an infection control program." The victim's husband told The Post and Courier his wife died from sepsis due to a perforated gastric ulcer.
The second suit filed by the family of a second Alzheimer's patient in the Snapchat video accuses SweetGrass Court of negligence and fraud, claiming the family was told their loved ones would be well cared for at the facility. The plaintiff in that case was shown in the video partially clothed as a staff member tries to record her in her room.
The family of that victim told The Post and Courier that she is no longer at the facility and does not remember the incident occurring.