A former nursing home aide caught on video stuffing latex gloves into the mouth of a 96-year-old patient with dementia pleaded guilty Wednesday to caretaker abuse and was sentenced to two years in prison.
Lucy Waithira Gakunga, 23, of Oklahoma City, admitted abusing Eryetha Mayberry in April as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. She received a 7-year prison sentence with all but the first two years suspended.
Gakunga, a citizen of Nigeria, will be deported after she is released from prison, Oklahoma County District Judge Glenn M. Jones said.
“I don't feel it was severe enough, but I'm not the judge,” said Erlene Adkisson, one of Mayberry's three daughters.
Caroline Kaseke, 28, a co-defendant in the case, remains at-large.
Quail Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation Center fired the nursing assistants in April after they were caught on a camera hidden by the family of the victim, who lived at the facility for five years.
The video shows Gakunga shove the gloves into Mayberry's mouth and forcefully hold them there as the patient tries to push Gakunga's hands away and Kaseke looks on, police said.
The video also shows Gakunga lift Mayberry into bed and then pushes the side of her face to force her to lie down. She also compresses the resident's torso, police said. A supervisor at the facility told police there is no medical reason to push on the woman's chest. Family members told police their loved one has painful arthritis.
The family placed the camera in the room because they suspected someone was stealing from Mayberry, who died July 27 as a result of Alzheimer's disease and congestive heart failure, a family spokesman said.
“We had no (idea) that she was being mistreated,” said Doris Racher, one of Mayberry's three daughters. “She was so helpless.”
A nursing home administrator declined to comment Wednesday, referring calls to AdCare Health Systems, an Atlanta-based company that purchased the Quail Creek facility in August.
Wendy Brooke, vice president of sales and marketing for AdCare, declined to comment except to say, “We ensure we have the proper state and federal abuse policies in place.”