OVH nurse charged with assault

Police say she attacked resident on Christmas.
Courtney Astolfi
Jan 1, 2014
An Ohio Veterans Home nurse is facing felony charges for allegedly assaulting an 83-year-old patient Christmas Day at the Perkins Township facility.

Karin Serdynski, 55, of Lorain, was charged with patient abuse and assault, each fourth-degree felonies.

On Christmas evening, Serdynski was administering medication to a veteran who served in the Korean War when the man became uncooperative, Ohio Veterans Home police Chief Gabe Ferencz said.

The man had taken his pills with a sip of orange juice, but when he refused to swallow them, Serdynski allegedly grabbed onto him.

Reacting to the nurse’s actions, the man spit out the medicine and juice — with some of the mixture landing on Serdynski.

An aide later described the incident to Ohio Veterans Home police. She said Serdynski then “became angered and out of control” Ferencz said.

Serdynski allegedly grabbed the man’s arms and began shaking him. When he turned away to avoid Serdynski’s onslaught, she grabbed him a second time, struck his back and pulled on his hair, Ferencz said.

The nurse’s aide then intervened — she stopped Serdynski’s alleged assault and reported it to supervisors. The entire incident played out in just a few seconds, Ferencz said.

The veteran suffered bruises on both arms and fingernail scratches on his scalp, consistent with the aide’s account of events, Ferencz said.

"We don’t know why she did it, other than it appears she lost her temper” Ferencz said.

Serdynski has been a nurse at the Ohio Veterans Home for four years. In that time, she has only been reprimanded twice for tardiness, Ferencz said.

The man, meanwhile, only recently moved to the Perkins Township facility. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and served in the Korean War from 1951 to 1953. He moved to OVH from Defiance, Ferencz said.

“He was treated here and is doing fine” Ferencz said.

Serdynski is currently banned from the property, but is still employed by the Ohio Veterans Home pending an administrative investigation.

She was arrested Dec. 26 and taken to the Erie County jail. Serdynski posted $10,000 bond and was released about two hours after she was brought in, according to jail documents.

Serdynski appeared at an arraignment hearing Dec. 27 in Sandusky Municipal Court. Her plea hearing is slated for Jan. 8, according to court documents.

Comments

meowmix

I would never, ever defend assaulting an elderly person (war vet or not is a moot point-he's no more special than another old person)for giggles and grins. However, look at her face--she is scared to death and only reprimanded twice in 4 years for tardiness obviously proves this woman doesn't get her kicks by beating old men. An aide probably only earns just over $10.00 an hour to deal with stuff we wouldn't or couldn't dream of. I'm not going to be one of those people who is going to say what an evil being she is for the fact that I sure as hell couldn't do her job-but someone has to and for the pay they get, I'm sure they take a lot of abuse from their patients. Whether she is a nurse or an aide I'm willing to bet she has gone home on quite a few occasions with bruises she has received from residents.

2cents's picture
2cents

Thank you, well said!

deertracker

Very well said!

Mom of 2 boys

I personally know a nurse's aid that works there. Nursing is one of the hardest professions to be in. You are on your feet constantly, using your back constantly to turn patients, assist them with messing themselves....the job is endless. Nurses ignore their own needs to serve others. Most nurses age beyond their years because of their profession. NOW, having said that, nurses also know and have been taught to deal with the things that are thrown back at them. Combative patients, etc.; with every decision and choice you make, there are rewards or consequences. Having elderly parents, NOTHING they do (just as a small child) justifies hurting them. This nurse will have to face her consequences. Do you remember the lessons of cause and effect? You were taught this in school....no way am I judging this nurse, but we do live by rules.

Julie R.

Evil dumb beech ...... and I would say that to her face.

santown419

If you can't handle the job find another field. My sister works at a nursing home and yes the patients get out of had but you have to expect that.

seriously 1137

I am a nurse. I have worked in corrections long term care and acute care in a hospital. Only a few times have I ever been so angry with a difficult patient where I have wanted to lose it...but I didn't I walked away. Took a min to collect myself. There is absolutey no excuse for her actions. Nursing takes a special individual and you have it or you don't. Too many people are choosing nursing as a second career choice as a result of being downsized or whatever and they are getting into it soley for money and job opportunitues. She's lucky that's not one of my family members

SanduskySlayer's picture
SanduskySlayer

Why was the man not charged with assault for spitting the pills in her face? The double standard that murdering cowards get and civilians is laughable. Cops side with Military because they both have killed unarmed innocent people.

ladydye_5

She grabbed HIM first, he spit on her as a reaction. (it also does not say she spit in her face, it states he spit them out, some landed on her. doesn't say in her face) Why would he be charged? That was HIS defensive. The story says he refused to swallow the pills so she grabbed him, he then spit the juice and pills at her. It then escalated from there. Quit trying to pick a fight and go troll somewhere else.

Unassumer

Yeah, I would find a new job.

Sadie_89

For people who think you know, trust me you have no clue. This woman's actions are not condoned, but are completely understandable. You try working under the pressure of this environment and see how long it takes before you crack. This a place where moral is squashed and you are expected to go on like you don't have a care in the world. You are supposed to be an excellent employee with do your 16 hr shifts, deal with politics, be lucky if you get a 15 minute break but you get to listen to management call each other and ask what they
want to order for their hour long lunch, it has even been rumored that play cards and shop and

get on facebook while you are striving to get done, you get to do more and more tasks in the allotted time given which is impossible to do, watch the hands on care dwindle while the managerial staff grows, management can't help you when you are sinking because they don't know what you do, you are afraid to look the wrong way for fear you will be part of an investigation. Constantly walking on eggshells, you place of emloyment should not let you feel this way. The people who can fix this don't because there is no mandatory overtime for them, there are no short staffed days for them, they dont have to get fifty people ready for bed on a 16 hour shift. So yes this woman definately is in the wrong and could have handled that situation completely different. A person can only take so much before they crack and throw getting spit in the face on top of it! Think about the woman who was hired 4 hrs ago and the person she has been turned into.

Babo

I would add there seems to be a big double standard concerning assaults by women on men versus assaults on women by men. Men can beat up their girlfriends and wives and its a misdemeanor, until they do it enough times to upgrade it to a felony.

This nurse (she looks pretty frail to me) grabs a likely obnoxious older man who is not cooperating with his care and who can still probably take her in a fight to try to establish control. He spits on her, and she in an effort to reclaim what little dignity she has left (It's Christmas, she's probably working mandatory overtime and management is nowhere to be found); grabs him and smacks him.

Somehow this is a felony because he's "vulnerable". Yes what she did is wrong, but come on, felony charges?

Darwin's choice

This is reality.

Crap rolls downhill, and the grunts are the most effected.

Her supervisor should be under investigation.....

RU_KIDDING_ME

A terrible occurrence and mistake on her part that quickly spiraled out-of-control. Hopefully the Administrative folks will deal with this matter appropriately and consider all responses and actions to pursue in response to her actions. Pass no judgment over this unfortunate occurrence and situation. Last time I checked, we ALL live in glass houses...

queenjhb

understaffed aids= poor care anywhere. They need more aids + give them the deserved breaks they need to recharge and refresh . She snapped, not fair to her or the resident. I hope he is doing better, and I hope she gets the needed support she needs also. Sad.

JACKEL

Tough job, I am glad someone is able to even do it.

seriously 1137

Sadie and Babo this is not excusable! She abused a patient. I have worked under the same conditions. I have had a confused resident refuse pills spit pills in my face swing at me you name it! I agree 100% with your comments on working conditions and no support from management but as a nurse and family member of someone as a patient in long term care this is not ok. Nursing is hard. Harder than most will ever understand but if every nurse or aide used that as an excuse to snapping and abusing a patient imagine what that would be like! It's a felony because she is a healthcare professional she is held to a standard under her license! Working conditions suck. If you can't handle it get help and do your patients a favor and get out of the profession. Imagine what it could have escalated to had the stna not interviened.

Sadie_89

Seriously, I agree that she should completely be held accountable for her actions, I would be irate if it were my father. All I'm saying is a little help from the facility would go a long way, and the incidents would not be an issue. People can only get beat down so much, until you have worked in this actual facility and experienced what goes on in this actual facility you can not comment, because you do not know the amount of bs. I am sorry that this happened to this resident and I feel for his family, this should not happen to anyone, This lady was one of the weak ones and couldn't take it anymore. I blame the facility just as much as I blame her. I DO NOT AGREE WITH HER ACTIONS, AND I AM NOT MAKING EXCUSES FOR HER, I JUST UNDERSTAND HOW IT COULD HAPPEN.

grandmasgirl

My mother was in a nursing home for years. It was a nice place, but the longer she was there, the more changes I saw. Where one nurse and two aides took care of 15 patients, they cut it down to one aide. They then gave the nurse double duty by adding another wing onto her responsibility. There were times when I wanted to throttle some of the patients and I was only there for a couple of hours a day. I agree, it doesn't make it right, but it does make it understandable.

santown419

My aunt worked here for many years ad a head nurse she was called racial slurs , hit , spit she went through it all for well over 20+ years. You are dealing with a lot of people. Nurses aide isn't a easy job and I give props to the ones who can handle it. Like I said my sister does it and she is better than me.

Sadie_89

And I also would like to add "don't act like you have never wanted to throttle a patient, the only difference between other nurses and her, is that wr have had the good sense god gave us to walk away and she didn't." So dont try to act like because you are a nurse that you are better than another, you just knew when to go cool off and she was a fool and didn't take that opportunity.

seriously 1137

Actually I have felt that way. I actually said that...and said I did have the sense to walk away and collect myself. I may not have worked at ovh but have several close friends that have and still do and I can guarantee the places I have worked, I have been in much worse more stressful and literally dangerous situations. I never claimed to be better than other nurses...just ones the who abuse patients

Julie R.

If it's true what somebody said ~ that one aide is expected to take care of 15 patients ~ there's no way those 15 elderly people are getting decent care. This is abuse in itself and the management needs to be reported to the state.

Babo

Pretty hard to report the OHIO Veterans Home and expect changes to the State of Ohio as it is run by the State. Check out their management and security staff, a bunch of double dippers, former government workers, and political hacks.

Sadie_89

It is very true that one aid is expected to care 15 patients, but it is not against the law to work with those numbers and the state is who determines those numbers. I will add that for some stupid reason those figures that determine what the staff to patient ratio is, include the RNs who have no patient care contact what so ever. Now tell me how that makes sense. You are right that many patients to one aid is abuse in itself, and these people do not get the care they deserve. It is pretty sick, these families think there is all this staff taking care of their family member when it is very little actual people caring for them. But the state makes these numbers so it is totally OK.

Sadie_89

Oh and your highness seriously,I bow to you, you are perfect.

Peninsula Pundit

Not only perfect, but sanctimonious, as well.

Julie R.

Let the idiots in management that are making the big bucks ~ like the ones at the county-owned Erie County Care Facility ~ take care of 15 patients by himself/herself for one shift and see if they can do it. THOSE are the greedy a-holes that should be charged first and foremost with abuse of the elderly .... and if it's the state that came up with those numbers, then those idiots should be charged, too.

queenjhb

Money maker , not for the caregivers , or helpless residents , where is the compassion for both in scheduling , and support for both?

Julie R.

My 88-year-old aunt ~ who passed away four months ago ~ was in an area Sandusky nursing home (one of the most expensive ones) for about a year and a half before she died. A week or two before she died she called her son at 4 in the morning and told him she fell out of bed and could not reach the call button. When her son tried to call the home NOBODY ANSWERED and during the drive there he kept trying with the same results. When he finally got there an hour later she was STILL on the floor crying & yelling for help.

And that kind of care cost her almost $5,000.00 a MONTH?

Jaidstar

That place is a meat grinder. Every minute on the job is a virtual emergency. Management's decision to divert money into questionable infrastructure projects as opposed to hiring replacement workers has resulted in unprecedented under staffing. Certain tasks absolutely must be accomplished with less staff. Minimum staffing requirements are accomplished by way of requiring endless 16 hour shifts from remaining personnel. Imagine 16 hours on your feet, one or two breaks "if" you are lucky. The reality is...most people are dealing with it as best they can, and for those who are monetarily motivated, the overtime is certainly there. On the other hand, there is always a certain percentage of those who will crack under the strain. It is only the beginning of a situation that I'm sure their management must have foreseen, and simply decided that sweetening a privatization deal with a pretty building rather than maintaining a safe and professional staff for it's veterans, was priority. I for one, am grateful to those who are sticking it out.

sugar

That place is a hellhole, the Vets deserve great care but it is so corrupt it will never happen. Why? Because it's government/union ran.