Jeff: You all ready?
Man 1: Yes.
Man 2: Yep.
Jeff: All righty. Good Afternoon, my name is Jeff Herman with the law firm Herman, Mermelstein, and Horowitz. I’m here today to announce the filing of a lawsuit against ASA Home Care.
This case, we allege that my client, who’s going by the name John Doe, is a 40-year-old man and a few years ago he was receiving some nursing care. He is a paraplegic who was injured in an accident when he was 18 years old. Prior to the assault, we allege, in this case, he had injured himself doing some horseback riding. He had an injury in his backside that required some nursing care.
He retained ASA Home Care, who provided a home health care nurse, by the name of Alvarez. Alberto Alvarez is the name of the man who was the nurse. My client alleges that throughout the time he was receiving some nursing care, Mr. Alvarez began to act strange. One time he brought a sexual toy, began to show him pornography, and say inappropriate things, about which he complained of. Ultimately, in June of ’08, my client realized that he was actually being anally penetrated by Mr. Alvarez. Immediately when he realized this, and he realized it because although he is paralyzed, he has very slight sensation in his anus and felt in his stomach that he was being penetrated. Eventually, he realized what was going on. He immediately turned back and complained about it. Mr. Alvarez tried to talk him out of reporting it, saying he’d lose his job, and he would kill himself if anyone ever found out about this, and he left.
My client thereafter did contact the police, and since that time has really suffered. It’s a horrible incident for a man who was already disabled, and life has thrown lots of challenges to him, and he has tried to overcome these. Unfortunately, this is another obstacle thrown in his way, which he’s trying to recover from. So that’s what I have. I’ll let him go ahead, and he wants to make a statement and he’s really gonna talk about, more about his feelings, and not get into the specific acts themselves. We will translate, and try to do a little English for you.
Man 1: Can we get a microphone [inaudible 00:02:44]?
Jeff: Yes, yeah, let me do that.
Man 2: Should we put the translator next to…?
Jeff: Yeah. If we can…
Man 1: [inaudible 00:02:54] see where we are in the position. [crosstalk]
Jeff: So I’m going to let you go down this side and ask them to slide over… Yes, I would stand up there, please. Thank You.
Please slide closer to the mic so they can hear you. So ask him to talk about how this is impacting him. If you can do it first in a little bit of English, if you can try.
Hany: [Spanish 00:03:09]
Jeff: Just one sentence in English and then we will go to Spanish.
John: [Spanish 00:03:49]
Hany: He’s very nervous.
John: [Spanish 00:03:57]
Hany: He is remembering everything that has happened so, it’s bringing him emotions.
Jeff: Oh okay. If you can just talk about…just make a brief statement, if you’re okay with that, just about how this has impacted you.
Hany: [Spanish 00:04:20]
John: [Spanish 00:04:34]
Hany: Okay, this has impacted him very harshly. His nerves have been impaired. He feels depressed. He is very anxious. He feels agitated. He says when he would like or has desire to be with a woman, it hinders him from that. It’s just very hurtful to him, and his wounds have reopened, his previous wounds. Medically, he is worse off now than what he was before.
John: [Spanish 00:06:43]
Hany: He feels it has affected him with the health care because since he had to switch health services, the new place is not providing him with the proper materials and the proper equipment. He feels like it’s worse and worse from after the incident.
Man 3: [Spanish 00:07:29]?
John: [Spanish 00:07:34]
Jeff: Let me hear the question.
Hany: I’m sorry. Where did this occur, in the agency or at his house?
John: [Spanish 00:07:40]
Hany: He says that it occurred at his home after a while of establishing a relationship with him. He was teaching him how to play the guitar and was becoming friendly, but he noticed that there was something beyond just that friendship beside he was supposed to do his duties as of his employment. So he noticed that something else was going on beyond that, that was not correct and that was not right.
Man 4: Can you ask him, please, perhaps to summarize for us if he’s angry? His emotions about that?
Hany: [Spanish 00:08:52]
Jeff: Ask if he can try to say it in English.
Hany: [Spanish 00:08:57]
John: [Spanish 00:09:07]
Hany: He says he is nervous and is starting to feel a little bad or faint.
John: [Spanish 00:09:17]
Hany: It’s not coming to him now. He’s feeling a little nervous.
Jeff: Okay, that’s fine.
Hany: [Spanish 00:09:25]
John: [Spanish 00:09:27]
Hany: He said after this he started experiencing convulsions, epilepsy, seizures.
John: [Spanish 00:09:38]
Hany: He becomes depressed when he feels…when he thinks about it and when he’s going to be with a woman, and he just starts to think about what happened and all the situation, so he just feels traumatized. It makes him feel…
Man 4: I’m gonna ask him a question in English and then I’ll ask it in Spanish.
Jeff: Thank you
Man 4: Was this person performing prostate test or prostate exams and then he associated that with thinking that was the case? [Spanish 00:10:33]?
John: No, no, no, no, no. [Spanish 00:10:39]
Jeff: The medical care he was receiving, there was no reason for him to be going into his anus. This was unrelated to that.
Man 4: [Spanish 00:10:53]
John: [Spanish 00:10:57]
Jeff: Okay, I don’t wanna talk about the facts just focus on his emotions.
Hany: He feels that he was inappropriate during the therapy that was provided to him.
Jeff: I never got an answer about his emotions. Can you summarize or ask him about…
Hany: He’s not angry. He says he is more depressed, and he’s traumatized about the situation. It’s just has affected him mentally and emotionally in the sense of his manhood and trying to be with a woman. Pretty much his manhood has…he feels it’s been mostly taken away from him. He feels depressed and traumatized about the situation, especially when he attempts to be with a woman or engage in relationships with a woman. The memories come back and it makes him feel depressed due thinking about the memories.
Jeff: I’m going to let him stop now. Okay, Thank you. [crosstalk] Yeah, there’s one thing I wanna just say which is…
Man 4: Correct me if I’m wrong. You said this happened in June of 2010?
Jeff: 08 and reported it back then.
Man 5: Did anything happen to the person back then?
Jeff: No, he reported it to the police, and they started to do things, and I’m not sure what exactly happened. We attempted to contact ASA many times to get them to take action and unfortunately we felt there was nothing left to do for him but to go ahead and file the lawsuit. I do want to say one thing about vulnerable populations because I see this all the time in the health care field.
By its nature, people who are obtaining medical care are vulnerable and they rely on the medical care providers to give them this services, but they’re in these vulnerable positions. Whether they are in hospitals or whether in their home, there is this person who has this physical contact with them. Unfortunately, we are seeing this again and again, where people are being preyed upon in these medical care situations. Here this man, who is totally vulnerable and has to rely on this man is not able to control what happens to him and is at the mercy of this provider, which is why healthcare companies have to go above and beyond in making sure that the people who are providing the medical care are safe. In this case, we are alleging they did not do that and they sent this predator into this man’s home where this happened.
Man 5: I have heard cases about this in home health care maybe not this severe. But based on your experience, what would you call it? An epidemic? Why is there a problem?
Jeff: Yeah, I think it is a widespread problem that is only getting worse and there is…for some reason, it’s happening everywhere and it’s happening with all kinds of populations. I think the health care industry maybe are growing so quickly that they’ve lost control over their security measures and preventive care in terms of protecting patients.
Man 1: I guess what we are asking is like this guy Alberto…what’s his last name?
Man 1: Did he have any priors before he got hired at this place that they would have had a flag saying this guy is a sexual predator of some sort?
Jeff: I know that my client had complained to them that he was uncomfortable with this man several times. There was notice to them and they failed to change his health care provider.
Man 5: Oh really? So after the initial complaint, he continued coming back?
Jeff: Before the last time, where he realized he was being sexually assaulted, there were things that made him uncomfortable. He called and complained and said, “I would like another nurse. This man is making me uncomfortable. He’s doing things that I’m not…” He felt weird pressure. He felt something was up. Unfortunately, he wasn’t in a position to change the nurse they were sending him. They didn’t until finally, the last incident happened. So here there was notice and there were plenty of red flags.
Man 5: Did they fire him after that?
Jeff: I believe they did but you’d have to ask them. We’ve had a difficult time getting information from them.
Man 5: And, ma’am, can we get your name again? Did you say Hani?
Man 5: H-A-N-I?
Man 5: N-Y. And your last name?
Hany: Urdaneta, U-R-D-A-N-E-T-A
Man 5: The lawsuit is against the agency.
Man 5: Can you reveal how much is the lawsuit right now?
Jeff: Well, in Florida, ultimately the jury will decide the damages. We allege the damages exceed more that $5 million, but ultimately, the jury will figure that out.
Man 6: Is that some kind of a legal threshold you have to say or…?
Jeff: Well, the threshold is lower than that but I put that there because I think this is a significant case. So it’s a matter of just sort of holding them accountable for what really happened.
Man 7: This guy was never charged or primarily prosecuted?
Jeff: Again, I don’t know the exact status of the criminal case. I know there was an investigation initially and there certainly was a criminal complaint. [crosstalk] It would have been Hialeah police.
Man 7: Hialeah police?
Jeff: Yes. All right. Thank you.
Man 6: Is there a copy of the lawsuit.