Last week, when a nurse at Southtown Nursing Home in Bixby, Oklahoma, walked in on restorative aide Edward Lee Marshall giving a blind, physically and mentally handicapped patient a bath, she felt sure she had witnessed something inappropriate. It appeared Marshall was not bathing the patient, but masturbating him. She immediately contacted management, who called the police, according to The Tulsa World.
Bixby police arrested Marshall and charged him with making a lewd proposal and sexual battery. He was transported to Tulsa jail where he was held on $27,000 bond. He was released Saturday.
“There might be nothing to this, but we felt the authorities must make that call,” said Scott Pilgrim, the nursing home owner. “Because our resident safety and well being is what we stand for, we took this action.”
Cases of nursing home abuse and neglect are not uncommon. In Oklahoma alone, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services recorded 160 referrals of abuse, neglect or exploitation. Forty-four – or 70 cases – were verified by caseworkers, according to a related story on Tulsa television station Fox23.
Wes Bledsoe with the advocacy group A Perfect Cause who spoke with a reporter about the case says that the nurse who walked in on Marshall did the right thing, adding that all cases of suspected of abuse or neglect of nursing home patients should be immediately reported to law enforcement and the state Department of Health.