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Nurse at old folks' home jailed for punching, kicking wheelchair-bound resident

SINGAPORE: A male nurse at an old folks' home was jailed for 16 weeks on Wednesday (Dec 23) for punching and kicking a wheelchair-bound resident.

Filipino Flores Alvin Jay Vargas, 36, pleaded guilty to one charge of voluntarily causing hurt to a 67-year-old man, who had been a resident at All Saints Home in Jurong East since a traffic accident in 2017 left him wheelchair-bound and with brain trauma.

Vargas was employed as an enrolled nurse and was tasked with caring for the residents there.

On May 25 last year, the victim asked for a knife to cut an apple but was told that he could not be given one. 

He threw a tantrum and repeatedly pressed the call bell on the wall behind his bed, drawing Vargas to him. Vargas tried to explain why they could not give the victim a knife, but the victim continued to press the bell.

When another nursing aide tried to turn off the bell, the victim began pressing another handheld bell. When Vargas tried to pull this second bell away from him, the victim pulled on Vargas' shirt, tearing it.

Vargas grew angry and punched the victim on his chest a few times, before kicking the frame of his bed and kicking his body.

The nursing aide saw what happened and asked Vargas to stop. Another employee also told Vargas to stop what he was doing, reminding him that it is wrong.

The victim's older brother later visited him and heard about what happened. He lodged a police report and had his brother taken to hospital after a doctor at the nursing home examined the victim and observed tenderness on his chest.

A medical report noted suspected crack fractures on two of the victim's ribs and he was hospitalised for seven days before being transferred to a community hospital for rehabilitation.

The prosecutor asked for at least 16 weeks' jail, noting Vargas' abuse of position, the vulnerability of the victim and the fact that Vargas had asked the nursing aide to lie to cover up the incident.

Vargas' lawyer said his client is the sole breadwinner of his family in the Philippines, and is deeply remorseful.

He said Vargas regrets the incident and promises not to break the law in the future.

For voluntarily causing hurt, he could have been jailed up to two years, fined up to S$5,000, or both.

Source: CNA/ll(ta)


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