Darren Barbee of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram‘s Watchdog Bytes blog, which combs state and federal documents for both consumer/public interest news and utter weirdness (“science or fiction” is their chosen category), found an instant Bum Steer in a case that went before the State Office of Administrative Hearings recently. 

It involved a certified nurse aide at an Abilene nursing home who, in the process of assisting an uncooperative Alzheimer’s disease patient on the toilet, wound up biting her. 

To be fair, the patient bit first. According to Barbee:

…the [patient] put a “clamp down” on the aide’s arm with her teeth. For at least a minute, the aide was in an excruciating dental duel and yelled that the resident would not let her go, according to documents filed by the State Office of Administrative Hearings.

The witness said she could tell the aide was in great pain and both of her arms were “tied up” restraining the woman. 

Then, in a moment of pointed retaliation, the witness “unequivocally testified” that the nurse aide bent over and bit the resident on the forehead, court documents say.

The Administrative Law Judge who decided that the aide was guilty of abuse acknowledged that it may have been in self-defense.

But, needless to say, the standard of behavior for a nurse aide is considerably higher than the one for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s, especially since, as Barbee reported further, “A medical assessment of the resident determined that she had a bite mark with two open skin wounds on her forehead.”

Given that, the aide’s rationalization for her countermeasure was especially weak:

The aide said she didn’t bite the woman and that she fainted from the pain of being bitten. She argued that it was possible her teeth hit the resident as she raised her head and tried to stand up.

According to Barbee, the judge recommended that the aide’s name be added to the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services registry of people who are ineligible to work in nursing homes, though that apparently had yet to happen as of Tuesday.