Jeff Smith noon, March 8
Accused nurse expected to testify in his own defense
Felony charges of mishandling 23-year-old autistic patient
A nurse accused of abusing an autistic patient in his care is expected to testify in his own defense today, in San Diego’s North County Courthouse.
Matthew Alexander McDuffie, 28, is the second caregiver to go on trial, facing felony charges in connection with his handling of a 23-year-old disabled man last summer.
McDuffie pleads not-guilty to six felony counts of abuse of dependant adult. A jury has been listening to testimony for two weeks, since April 25.
Aggressive defense by attorney Karolyn Kovtun has limited the amount of times certain video clips were shown to the jury. The defense attorney has also been able to limit which witnesses were allowed to give opinion on what they believed they could see in the videos.
The mother of the alleged victim has testified that she put a surveillance camera in her disabled son’s bedroom before she left on a month-long trip to Europe, last July and August, in 2012. Caregivers said they worked 12-hour-shifts in the Oakley family home in Valley Center, California.
The autistic patient has episodes of hitting himself, which medical experts are calling SIB or Self Injurious Behavior. It is not disputed that the 23-year-old patient is unusually strong, and it is a struggle to prevent and stop the Self Injurious Behavior. Other nurses who cared for the same patient testified that he has a contagious staph infection called MRSA and he has “learned to bite” persons who take his hands, trying to stop him hitting himself.
In a related case, a different nurse was found guilty last month, for mishandling the same patient over the same timeframe. Michael Dale Garritson, 62, a registered nurse, was declared guilty of two felonies and several misdemeanors; Garritson is scheduled for sentencing later this month, on May 20, 2013.
The current trial for Matthew Alexander McDuffie, 28, resumes before Judge Blaine Bowman in San Diego’s Vista courthouse this morning April 7, 2013.
More like this:
- Two homecare nurses sentenced to time already served — May 20, 2013
- Homecare nurse accused of felonies was found guilty of two misdemeanors — May 14, 2013
- Jury will decide if nurse abused his autistic patient — May 11, 2013
- Accuser in alleged abuse trial is asked to explain the other video — April 9, 2013
- Older man accused of harming autistic man in his care — April 7, 2013