OTTAWA — Columbus Grove resident Megan Schnipke was sentenced Friday to serve 60 days at the Putnam County Jail and five years probation for failing to properly carry out her duties at a Pandora nursing home that contributed to the death of a resident there.
Schnipke, a 32-year-old LPN and former employee of Hilty Memorial Home, was previously charged in November with forgery, a fifth-degree felony, and misdemeanor counts of patient neglect and gross neglect for allegedly failing to follow procedures that contributed to the death of 76-year-old Phyllis Campbell, a resident of the nursing home, on Jan. 7, 2018. The woman’s death was attributed to hypothermia.
During Friday’s sentencing Putnam County Common Pleas Court Judge Keith Schierloh said in addition to jail time — she must report to Putnam County Jail at 8 a.m. Jan. 9 — Schnipke must complete 100 hours of community service, maintain employment and submit to random drug and alcohol testing and obtain counseling and treatment if required by the supervisory officer. She and the other two nurses involved must pay $4,536.88 in restitution and her nursing license is suspended while she is on probation for five years.
Schnipke held her head down with her hair covering her face most of the sentencing but did provide a brief remark when asked by Judge Schierloh if she would like to provide a statement.
”Every day for the past year I have thought about this and what I would say to you. I know there is nothing I can say to take away the pain, and I’m very sorry,” Schnipke said.
Judge Schierloh said in Schnipke’s pre investigation report she stated she trusted another employee to follow up with the victim.
“You had a responsibility for the individuals who were supposed to check on her. Any good supervisor would have done at least one check,” Schierloh said.
Campbell’s grandchildren read victim impact statements during the sentencing.
Amber Kear, Campbell’s eldest granddaughter, and one of her eight grandchildren spoke about the incident and how it has affected her and her family.
“How could a human life be merely overlooked under assumption? Under the assumption of three trained women, women that signed off on checking her, one who heard Grandma’s voice at 2 a.m. when she was taking her last breaths and didn’t say anything to anyone,” Kear said. “The other just doing her job like she was trained to do and just assumed the other had taken care of Phyllis.”
She continued, “Phyllis Jane Campbell you are the reason why we are here, the reason why we are all speaking on your behalf, the reason our hearts are saddened and our lives have changed.”
Campbell’s grandson, Andrew Klinger, read a victim impact statement on behalf of his mother, Deb Klinger, who is Campbell’s daughter.
“Because of Phyllis Campbell’s untimely death due to gross patient neglect that could have easily been avoided, if only Phyllis’s well-being was considered, if required visible inspections of Phyllis’s surroundings and whereabouts including her room were accurately and truthfully documented, our mother would still be with us today,” Andrew said on behalf of his mother.
Following the sentencing, Deb Klinger provided her thoughts on the sentencing.
“I feel it is an appropriate sentencing, but instead of her nursing license being revoked while she was on probation, my request was that it be terminated,” she said.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.