By Shereen Siewert
A Wausau certified nursing assistant is accused of intentionally disconnecting a patient’s ventilator to “watch him suffer and die,” according to documents filed Nov. 27 in Marathon County Circuit Court.
Police say See Xiong, 21, of Wausau was a caregiver at Mount View Care Center, 2400 Marshall St., when she allegedly disconnected the system for the 57-year-old patient. She faces charges of first degree recklessly endangering safety, a felony; and reckless abuse of patients causing bodily harm, a misdemeanor, in connection with the Nov. 26 incident.
The patient, whose name is being withheld to protect his identity, survived.
Police were dispatched on Tuesday to Mount View after staff members reported the incident. The organization’s director of nursing told police she had received a phone call from staff stating that Xiong had claimed to disconnect the patient, with whom the CNA had a history of previous incidents.
The nursing director also told police Xiong had previously thrown the television remote at the patient and hit him with wet socks, according to the criminal complaint. Those accusations have not been verified, but remain under investigation.
Investigators also learned Xiong had allegedly discussed plans to disconnect the ventilator from another patient and let him die before blaming the death on a respiratory therapist, documents state.
One staff member told police Xiong claimed she “liked watching it” when she disconnected the ventilator, while two witnesses said Xiong was “proud” of making the patient struggle. One witness said XIong would spray the victim’s entire body with air freshener when he defecated.
Xiong, who was described as a “good caregiver” until about two weeks prior, was sent home as soon as the allegations were reported. An examination of ventilation system records is underway.
North Central Health Care CEO Michael Loy is commending the Mount View staff for coming forward and responding quickly to the allegation.
“As staff immediately responded to and investigated the incident, we quickly established that all residents were safe and the employee involved in the alleged incident was immediately removed from the floor and suspended pending investigation,” Loy said. “Our preliminary assessment indicates that there was no actual harm to any resident at Mount View Care Center. The resident involved feels safe and we have spoken with other residents to ensure they also feel safe. We are also in process of communicating with families. The incident has been reported by NCHC to local law enforcement as well as the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services. We will continue to participate fully in the investigation and resolution of this incident. At this time, we plan to make no further comment on the incident until more information becomes available and want to assure you that this appears to be an isolated event.”
During an initial appearance Nov. 27, Reserve Judge Greg Grau ordered a $5,000 bond for Xiong, who faces up to 12 1/2 years in the Wisconsin Prison System if she is convicted on felony charge alone. A preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 24.