by Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq.

A caregiver in Wyoming who is charged with causing the death of her mother has been jailed based on allegations that she committed aggravated assault and battery; deliberate abuse of a vulnerable adult; and intentionally and maliciously killing another human being, commonly known as 2nd degree murder. The defendant, Edwina Leman, cared for her mother, Mary Davis, beginning in June of 2022. At the time of the events described below, Davis was a hospice patient.

On December 28, 2023, Leman’s son heard her yelling at her mother. At some point, he heard an audible “thump” and Davis began to scream. The son then entered the bathroom and found Leman pulling roughly on her mother’s leg, even though Davis was screaming that it hurt. According to Leman’s son, Leman then told her mother “not to be dramatic” and called her “Marygina,” a derogatory name the caregiver had previously called Davis on multiple occasions.

Leman claimed that she was removing her mother’s clothing “more forcibly than necessary when she fell.” She also said that Davis became very frail and fragile during the time the patient lived with her. Leman admitted that she had a temper and had “thumped or swatted” her mother on the head at various times in the past.

Leman’s husband and son said that they saw the caregiver engage in a pattern of physical and verbal abuse toward Davis. The caregiver screamed at her mother and sometimes called her names. Leman’s husband said he saw his wife hit the patient on the head and push her while she was walking with her walker. Leman said that she also pushed Davis when she was not using her walker, which caused her to fall to the ground. The coroner’s report said that Davis died of complications of a displaced fracture of her femur.

A sad story indeed! We read it and weep!

This case is a reminder for all types of providers who render services to patients in their homes to be alert to any signs of abuse or neglect, and to take action to protect patients who are subject to abuse or neglect. Action by providers should include reports to adult protective services. Providers may respond to this recommendation by saying that adult protective services rarely takes action based on their reports. Providers must remember, however, that reports to adult protective services are required in many states. In addition, it is important to establish a record of abuse and neglect even if authorities do not take action. Better to err, if necessary, on the side of protecting patients.

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©2024 Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without the advance written permission of the author.

©2024 by The Rowan Report, Peoria, AZ. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Healthcare at Home: The Rowan Reprinted by permission. One copy may be printed for personal use: further reproduction by permission only.