Two months before he died, John D. Sexton of Germantown was beaten by a worker in the Wood Glen Alzheimer’s Community in Miami Twp., his family’s attorney said.
Photos provided by family show the extent of bruising to both sides’ of Sexton’s face, and medical reports indicated bones around Sexton’s eyes were fractured.
“The family was shocked to see this,” Craig Matthews said. “This is their dad. They loved him. He was a loving, providing man. They were very concerned that he be taken care of in his later years, and they trusted Wood Glen to take care of their dad.”
A statement to police by the potential defendant provided to Sexton’s family refers to the employee being “overworked and tired” and that she “back handed” Sexton “trying to protect myself.”
The person is not being named because she hasn’t been formally charged.
Her statement later was modified to say she hit Sexton twice with a closed fist, according to an Ohio Department of Health document.
Police have referred a Jan. 25 report of patient abuse from the facility at 3800 Summit Glen Dr. to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office for possible felony charges.
A prosecutor’s office spokesman said the case hasn’t been presented to the grand jury.
An attorney representing Wood Glen told this news organization that the health care worker no longer works for the company and that Wood Glen officials are cooperating with Miami Twp. police. The Ohio Department of Health report indicates the woman worked at Wood Glen from Oct. 30, 2018, until Jan. 25, 2019 and that she was in good standing with the Nurse Aide Registry.
The worker’s statement to police — dated Feb. 28, more than a month after the incident — said Sexton became combative and was swinging wildly at her, and she back-handed him to protect herself. The worker was terminated that same day, according to the state report.
“I am so sorry because he didn’t deserve that,” the woman’s statement reads. “I was overworked and tired and made a mistake.” She also said she “didn’t mean to hurt him at all” and that she’s “not a monster.”
Fred Stratmann, an attorney representing Wood Glen, said Friday: “This is very physically demanding work. Our team members do an extraordinary job. Being tired and feeling as though you’re overworked is never an excuse for causing harm to someone in your care.”
Matthews said hitting someone in the head is inexcusable and brings up questions about negligence by Wood Glen, which he said has not turned over records about the incident.
“It’s normal for an Alzheimer’s patient to go through angry phases and strike out,” Matthews said. “So a nursing home, they’ve got to hire employees that know how to handle that, and they’ve got to train them to expect it.
“You might get struck at or sworn at or any number of just irrational angry outbursts. That’s got to be expected. That’s part of your job, and this is how you have to handle it.”
Matthews said Sexton’s son got to Wood Glen about seven hours after the incident and that police had not been called, and the son saw blood-stained sheets being removed and the floor being mopped.
“That should have been treated as a crime scene,” Matthews said, “not cleaning up the evidence.”
Sexton, 82, died on March 21.
“The family believes that” the incident contributed to Sexton’s death, Matthews said. “That the trauma of this and moving him — he had to be hospitalized and moved to a different center — he just went downhill rapidly.”
A March 22 Ohio Dept. of Health Deficiency Report found that Wood Glen “failed to ensure a resident was free from staff to resident physical abuse during the provision of care.”
A 30-year employee of Middletown City Schools until his retirement in 1994, Sexton is survived by a son, a daughter, three grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and a brother.
Another Wood Glen patient died in 2015 in an incident that sparked an investigation.
A homicide case related to the Oct. 5, 2015, felonious assault report and Nov. 3, 2015, death of Wood Glen resident Robert Winfield was reviewed and refused Jan. 16, 2016 for insufficient evidence, according to the prosecutor’s office.
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