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16 weeks jail time for nurse for assault of senior at nursing home

Flores Alvin Jay Vargas who worked at All Saints Home in Jurong East, pleaded guilty to one count of voluntarily causing hurt on Wednesday, Dec 23

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Singapore—Thirty-six-year-old Flores Alvin Jay Vargas, a nurse, has been sentenced to 16 weeks’ jail after an incident involving a wheelchair-bound senior citizen in 2019.

Mr Flores, who worked at All Saints Home in Jurong East, pleaded guilty to one count of voluntarily causing hurt on Wednesday, Dec 23. He could have been fined as much as $5,000, been jailed for as long as three years, or both, for the offence of causing grievous hurt.

The nurse, a Filipino national, did not only assault a 67-year-old resident but also asked a fellow staffer to lie about what happened on May 25, 2019.

On the day of the incident, the senior citizen, who had suffered brain trauma in an accident three years ago, asked for a knife because he wanted to cut up an apple.

A staff member at All Saints Home told the resident that he could not have a knife, after which the senior citizen threw a tantrum. He then began pressing the call bell behind his bed several times, according to a report in The New Paper (TNP).

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Mr Vargas came and endeavoured to explain to the senior why he couldn’t have a knife.

The senior, however, persisted in pressing the bell. And when the bell was disabled, the senior then kept pressing the handheld staff assist bell.

The nurse then attempted to take the handheld bell away from the senior, who pulled and tore the nurse’s shirt.

This caused Mr Flores to lose his temper, kicking the resident and punching his chest a few times.

Two care home staffers present during the altercation witnessed what Mr Flores had done to the senior, and told him to stop.

Two days after the assault, the senior told his brother about the assault, during a visit from the brother, who filed a report with the police on the same day.

The victim’s brother also requested that the senior be admitted to  Ng Teng Fong General Hospital for one week. A medical report showed that it was suspected that the victim had sustained rib fractures.

Mr Vargas sent a text message to one of the employees who had witnessed the assault asking her to say that he did not punch the victim. The employee then told the police that she had not seen the assault. Whether or not the staff member has been subject to any disciplinary measures is unknown.

The nurse lost his job on the same day that the senior was released from the hospital and went back to the nursing home.

The care home said in a statement on Dec 23 that it takes its residents’ health and safety seriously, and that Mr Vargas was suspended after the complaint was filed and that after it carried out an internal investigation, he was fired.

Additional measures including installing additional security cameras and conducting additional training for senior patients have also been implemented in order to ensure residents’ safety.

—/TISG

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