Nurse supervisor pleads guilty to manslaughter in neglect death

By Patrick Kernan - [email protected]
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WILKES-BARRE — A nurse supervisor at a skilled nursing care center who had been accused of neglecting a patient who later died has pleaded guilty to a count of involuntary manslaughter.

Kelly Levandowski, 40, of Nanticoke, initially faced a felony count of neglect of care of a dependent person, but the charge was lowered to a misdemeanor count of involuntary manslaughter at the request of prosecutors.

She appeared before Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough on Monday, when her trial was set to begin.

Vough scheduled Levandowski’s sentencing for Nov. 28.

The charges stem from the 2013 death of Melvin Johnson, 72.

Johnson was a patient at Guardian Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center where Levandowski was the nurse supervisor on June 20, 2013. On that day, Johnson pulled a tracheostomy tube from her throat, and died later that day.

Levandowski was charged in January after an investigation by the state Office of Attorney General. Investigators said Levandowski did not do enough to prevent Johnson’s death.

According to a criminal complaint:

Johnson was admitted to Guardian on June 20, 2013. At some point that day, two aides and two nurses saw Johnson pulling at the tube, alerting Levandowski.

But Levandowski remain seated at the nurse’s station, not checking on Johnson. She later did go into the room, finding that Johnson had pulled out the tube. Levandowski reinserted the tube.

Johnson was later found to be unresponsive after she had once again removed the tube. CPR was performed and the tube was inserted again.

An aide told a state agent that Levandowski directed her to fill out a form that said Johnson had been checked on every 15 minutes, despite this not happening. The aide said she filled out the form because she was intimidated.

Levandowski later said she should have ordered one-on-one care for Johnson and called 911.

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By Patrick Kernan

[email protected]

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan