Charges dismissed against nurse accused in patient's death

Charges dismissed against nurse accused in patient's death

LAWRENCEBURG, IN (FOX19) - A Lawrenceburg, Ind nurse accused of beating a patient to death says she's innocent.

The Dearborn County Prosecutor has dismissed the charges, but still seeks justice.

[Related: Former Ind. nursing home nurse faces reckless homicide charge]

FOX19 NOW brings you both sides of the story.

Former Nurse Kathy Hess says she got the good news during a phone call from her attorney. "It's dismissed, all charges
dismissed and I'm going and I was bawling. I was absolutely bawling and I was so emotional I had to give the phone to my husband." 

Hess says the news was welcome 10 months after being accused of reckless homicide in the death of 77-year-old Woodland Hills Nursing Care Center Patient Dionne Scalf.

An autopsy found that Scalf suffered a broken vertebra that caused the resident's death. Authorities said a witness saw nurse Kathy Hess abuse Scalf.

It's an accusation Hess strongly denies. “I think the worst part was that they were telling me I actually hurt somebody and I didn't. I didn't do it.

Hess insists Scalf died of natural causes after being helped to the bathroom. “She was very constipated. She passed a bowel movement and she was gone. She just died on the toilet.”

With her adrenaline kicking in Hess says she tried to revive Scalf. “I started CPR on her....actually I got her from the bathroom to the bed and then the three man team started CPR.”

Hess says it was the CPR which caused broken vertebra in a woman already crippled by arthritis, but witnesses claim Hess shook the woman.

The nursing home terminated Hess on Dec. 27 because of the incident, Dearborn County Prosecutor Aaron Negangard's office said.

Friends of Scalf tell FOX19 NOW they're upset the charges against Hess have been dismissed, but Dearborn County Prosecutor, Aaron Negangard, says this isn't over. "She's not out of the woods at all.'

Negangard says he's dismissing the charges because the defense has failed to provide discovery in a timely manner, but Negangard is convinced he has a strong case. "Despite numerous requests the information that defense counsel claimed exonerated their client we have not received it so we filed a motion to dismiss it without prejudice."
While Hess is trying to get her nursing license reinstated and her life back on track the Dearborn County prosecutor hopes to convene a grand jury or re-file charges after the first of the year. 
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