Jessica Struhar, a 26-year-old nursing assistant from Macomb County, Michigan, was charged last week with second-degree vulnerable adult abuse and falsifying medical records resulting in death. According to a statement from the Michigan Attorney General, Struhar allegedly failed to properly feed a patient at the Medilodge of Richmond nursing home, causing the patient to choke and die.
Ignored Proper Feeding Procedures
The charges stem from an incident on June 22, when Struhar was caring for a patient who required assistance eating. According to prosecutors, Struhar did not follow the proper feeding procedures and safety precautions established by the nursing home for this patient. The patient ended up choking on their food and suffocating. Staff at the nursing home and EMS attempted life-saving measures but were unsuccessful. The patient was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Falsified Records to Cover Up Mistakes
In addition to neglecting the patient’s needs, Struhar also allegedly falsified the patient’s medical records to cover up her failure to follow proper feeding procedures. According to Attorney General Dana Nessel, “The purposeful neglect of a vulnerable adult is deplorable.” She stated that her office will aggressively pursue justice against those who harm vulnerable populations.
Struhar Faces Up to 8 Years in Prison if Convicted
Struhar was arraigned in court on Oct. 3 and her next court date is scheduled for Oct. 17. If convicted of second-degree vulnerable adult abuse and falsifying medical records, Struhar faces up to 4 years in prison for each count, for a total of up to 8 years. The State of Michigan has suspended Struhar’s nursing license pending the outcome of her criminal case.