Friday, September 30, 2016

Elderly Nursing Home Patient Murdered With Insulin

When you put your loved one into a nursing home you expect that they will be taken care of. But sadly, that is not always what happens. A family up in Louisville discovered this after the 86-year-old matriarch of their family, Marcelline Vale, died from an insulin overdose.

Marcelline’s family expected she would be well taken care of since her own daughter worked at the facility where she was living. Then tragedy struck.

Marcelline was not diabetic, but at some point during the early morning hours of July 4, 2007, she was injected with a dangerously high dosage of insulin. She slipped into a coma caused by dangerously low blood sugar, and she never recovered. She died a few weeks later.

Had someone just messed up really badly, or had someone tried to intentionally murder her? Years went by and this question went unanswered.

Investigators always suspected that David Satterfield, a medical technician who was working a shift at the Parkway Rehabilitation and Nursing Center as a temp when Marcelline was murdered, had something to do with her death. (As he left the nursing home at the end of his shift the night she overdosed, Satterfield reportedly kissed Vale’s forehead and told her he loved her.) But there was not enough evidence against him to bring charges.

Then one day, years later, Satterfield called police out of the blue and confessed. “According to a police synopsis of the interview, Satterfield confessed to giving Vale an insulin shot in her thigh in an attempt to kill her. He came forward, he said, because he was homeless, living with HIV and wanted to ‘become a member of Metro Corrections.’”

Earlier this year, over nine years after Marcelline’s murder, Satterfield appeared in court to plead guilty to killing Marcelline. He also took responsibility for injecting two other nursing home residents with insulin shots they did not need. In exchange for pleading guilty, he will spend only 25 years in prison, and he will be eligible for parole after just 20 years.

What happened to Marcelline and the other nursing home residents that Satterfield abused is horrible. And it is even worse that it took nearly a decade for the culprit to be caught and held responsible.

It is a small comfort to know that, Marcelline’s family was able to file a civil lawsuit against the facility shortly after her murder. These sorts of lawsuits allow family members to get some sense that justice has prevailed even in the face of extremely unjust circumstances.

If you or a loved one has suffered nursing home abuse, you should speak with an attorney to figure out what all of your options are. You might be able to bring both criminal and civil charges against the responsible parties.

Criminal charges are technically brought by the state, but they have to know that a crime has been committed before they can do anything about it. If a crime has been committed, the person responsible may be imprisoned, fined, or lose their license to work at or operate a nursing home facility. Civil charges are brought by the person that was abused, or their family, and can provide monetary compensation for the harm suffered.