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Former nursing home administrator admits causing patient's death

Star Beacon - 1/9/2018

Jan. 09--PAINESVILLE -- The former administrator of a Madison Township nursing home pleaded guilty Monday to causing the death of an elderly patient.

Alice Ramsey, 55, of Madison, was indicted in July by the Lake County grand jury in the death of 85-year-old Mary Srpan, who died Jan. 17, 2017 of complications caused by injuries she sustained while living at the Hubbard Road Meadows assisted living facility in the township.

Ramsey's jury trial on one first-degree felony count of involuntary manslaughter and other felony counts was set to begin Monday morning in Lake County Common Pleas Court.

However, Ramsey accepted a plea deal during the jury selection process Monday, pleading guilty to one third-degree felony count of reckless homicide and one fourth-degree felony count of patient abuse, according to Madison Township detective Thomas Doyle.

"If it had gone to trial, I believe the facts would have shown that Alice Ramsey was physically abusive, verbally abusive and emotionally abusive," he told the Star Beacon Monday.

Doyle said some Hubbard Road Meadows employees -- who were prepared to testify at trial -- became concerned over Ramsey's treatment of Srpan, and began recording their interactions. On Jan. 3, Ramsey "roughly" force-fed eggs and medication to Srpan -- "more than what she could ingest," he said -- causing the woman to choke.

According to Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services officials, Srpan had been locked inside her room Jan. 3, making noise to draw caregivers' attention. Visitors alerted staff, who found Srpan's head was lodged in a nightstand. She was taken from the facility to a hospital and examined.

"At the hospital, we learned that she also had a broken left upper arm and she was extremely dehydrated," Doyle said, adding physicians also found bruises on the woman's body.

He said the Lake County coroner ruled Srpan died from pneumonia, "a result of her aspirating on the eggs."

Doyle said other evidence prepared for trial showed Ramsey would also swear at Srpan and give her tasks that were "beyond her capability."

Ramsey initially faced up to 18 1/2 years in prison. Under the plea deal, she faces a maximum sentence of 4 1/2 years, Doyle said. A sentencing hearing is set for Jan. 17.

Ramsey was not taken into custody following the plea, Doyle said. She remains free on a personal recognizance bond, according to court records.

Lake County Prosecutor Charles Coulson was unreachable Monday evening. Assistant county Prosecutor Patrick Condon, listed in Lake County court records as the prosecuting attorney, did not immediately return calls for comment.

After news broke of Ramsey's charges, relatives and loved ones of Hubbard Road residents approached Madison Township police with generalized complaints about the facility's safety, or complaints about Ramsey's abuse, Doyle said.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services suspended the facility's adult care license March 30, after an official investigation revealed the facility failed to report other instances of neglect, deaths and falls and violated hiring regulations. The facility closed soon after.

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(c)2018 the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio)

Visit the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio) at www.starbeacon.com

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