Nanticoke Nurse Pleads Guilty To Manslaughter
WILKES-BARRE — A registered nurse whose patient died under her care pleaded guilty Monday to involuntary manslaughter.
Kelly E. Levandowski, 40, of Nanticoke, was accused of “intentionally, knowingly or negligently” failing to provide sufficient care to Melvin Johnson, 72, who died after going into cardiac arrest at the Guardian Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center at 147 Old Newport St., on June 20, 2013.
Levandowski was initially charged with neglect of care of a dependant person, a felony charge that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The involuntary manslaughter charge she admitted to is a misdemeanor offense with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough accepted the plea and set sentencing for Nov. 28.
According to prosecutors, authorities began investigating Levandowski after the state Department of Health cited Guardian in 2013 for failing to provide adequate monitoring over the incident.
Prosecutors say Johnson had sustained a ruptured aneurism and brain bleeding, and was admitted to Guardian on the day of her death after being removed from a ventilator.
The charges alleged that at least four staff members told Levandowski, a shift supervisor, that they were concerned about Johnson pulling on a breathing tube. But Levandowski stayed seated at the nursing station, prosecutors said.
At one point when Johnson pulled out the tube, Levandowski reinserted it — but failed to call 911 as required by facility policy, prosecutors said. About a half-hour later, another nurse found Johnson unresponsive, having again removed the tube, according to prosecutors.
Levandowski claimed to have performed CPR until medics arrived, but no other staff members saw her do so, prosecutors said. One nurse reported that Levandowski directed her to fill out a form indicating regular 15-minute checks had been performed on Johnson, even though they had not been, the charges alleged.
Levandowski has been free on $25,000 unsecured bail since her arrest in January. She remains a licensed registered nurse, although state records show her license expires Oct. 31.