Caretaker Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter, Neglect for Failure to Renew Patient’s Medications which Led to Fatal Seizure Episode

November 29, 2023 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Michelle Henry announced charges against a Lawrence County personal care administrator who failed to provide a resident’s medications, which led to a seizure that caused the man’s death in 2021.

Kelly Gonzales, 48, was the administrator at ARC of Lawrence County, a personal care home in New Castle, when she failed to renew a prescription for the patient’s anti-seizure medication. Gonzalez then altered medical records to indicate that a health care provider discontinued the medication — which was not true.

Gonzales was charged Tuesday with felony counts of neglect of a care dependent person and tampering with records, and misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter. Gonzales surrendered Tuesday, was arraigned and released on her own recognizance.

“The resident relied on this defendant’s care and professionalism — his life depended on it — and the defendant neglected that duty leading to tragic consequences,” Attorney General Henry said. “My office has no tolerance for providers who violate their duty of care and put our most vulnerable residents at risk.”

As the administrator of the personal care home, Gonzales was responsible for the administration and management of the home, including the health, safety, and well-being of the residents. This included ensuring the residents’ paperwork was complete, that they attended all medical appointments, and received their prescribed medication in a timely manner.

According to the complaint, the resident was diagnosed with a seizure disorder and was prescribed anti-seizure medication to control his seizures. He died at the care home on Dec. 2, 2021 after not receiving his medication for over 10 days. Upon autopsy, it was discovered that the seizure disorder caused his death and that the levels of anti-seizure medication in his system were well below therapeutic levels.

This case will be prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Christopher R. Sherwood. All charges are accusations. The defendant is innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The Pennsylvania Medicaid Fraud Control Unit receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award totaling $10,632,312 for the Federal fiscal year (FY) 2024. The remaining 25 percent, totaling $3,544,100 for FY 2024, is funded by Pennsylvania.

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