A Riverside nurse whose failure to properly assess and treat a 69-year-old nursing home resident’s bed ulcer caused a fatal decline in the woman’s health pleaded guilty Wednesday to elder abuse and was immediately sentenced to 24 months probation, as well as ordered to surrender her nursing license.
Emily Beth Jones, 40, of Riverside admitted the felony charge under a plea agreement with the California Department of Justice. State prosecutors dropped a sentence-enhancing great bodily injury allegation as part of the bargain.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge David Gunn certified the terms of the plea agreement and imposed the sentence stipulated by the prosecution and defense. In addition to probation, Gunn ordered Jones to serve 90 days in a sheriff’s work release program and relinquish her license by Aug. 16.
Gunn also directed the Department of Probation to calculate victim restitution, which Jones will be ordered to pay at a later date.
According to prosecutors, the victim, identified in court documents as “Marjorie S.,” was under Jones’ care at Brookdale Senior Living on El Palomino Drive between May 25, 2017 and Aug. 14, 2017.
In that time, Marjorie developed open ulcers, including a severe one on her right heel, investigators said.
Jones, the victim’s case manager, “failed to record the discovery of the ulcers … and to notify a medical doctor and the resident’s family of (her) deteriorating condition,” according to a DOJ statement.
“As a consequence of this lack of care, the resident’s condition worsened,” the agency said.
The victim ultimately had to undergo surgery because the infection on her right foot reached the point of turning gangrenous, according to prosecutors. Despite the surgery, Marjorie’s health continued to slide, and she died before the end of summer 2017.
“Elder abuse does not always come in the form of a physical attack. It can result from utter neglect and lack of proper care, as we allege in the case of Emily Jones,” then-Attorney General Javier Becerra said at the time charges were filed in February.
“Jones, a registered nurse, owed her patients due care. Assisted living residents are a vulnerable population all too often victimized by acts of neglect and improper care. We must hold our medical professionals accountable for their actions.”
According to the Department of Justice, the California Board of Registered Nursing began an investigation of its own, finding that Jones should have immediately developed a plan of care to ensure the victim’s safety and recovery.
Jones’ nurse practitioner privileges were suspended on June 12, 2020, according to the nursing board.
Jones had no documented prior felony or misdemeanor convictions in Riverside County.