LEWIS CENTER, Ohio (WCMH) – A former nurse at a Lewis Center nursing home was sentenced Monday for the death of a resident in 2021.
In January, Aminata Fofana, who worked at the Lewis Center nursing home Capri Gardens, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, a third-degree felony. Delaware County Court of Common Pleas Judge James Schuk sentenced Fofana to three years of a basic level of community control.
On May 20 of 2021, Fofana, of Columbus, failed to replace the oxygen mask of a resident living at the Capri Gardens Rehabilitation and Nursing Care facility. Around 6:45 a.m. that morning, Fofana reportedly removed Paul Mowery’s tracheostomy mask because it was soiled.
About an hour later, a different nurse entered Mowery’s room and found him dead. The tracheostomy tubing was on the floor, not connected to the oxygen he needed to survive. As a result, Mowery died of suffocation.
Fofana, who was fired and stripped of her nursing license, told federal investigators in June 2021 that she forgot to replace the mask. At her arraignment, Fofana was released on her own recognizance.
At the emotional sentence hearing, Fofana repeatedly apologized and asked for forgiveness, while Mowery’s wife of 31 years, Luana Mowery, said it continued to break her heart that she never got to say goodbye to her husband.
“I’m not ready to forgive her yet, but I did listen to her statement. I’m glad that she was convicted for causing my husband’s death,” Luana Mowery said.
In addition to Fofana’s community control sentence, she must complete any classes a probation officers asks her to take, maintain residence and employment approved by the probation officer, perform 100 hours of community service, pay a $500 fine, surrender her nursing license and not work in any field of nursing taking care of sick individuals, be it paid or volunteer service. Fofana may not leave the state without permission or have any future violations of the law in any manner.
Failure to comply could result in an extended two-year community control sentence or a judge could impose a prison sentence.
Fofana, who originally pleaded not guilty to reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter, changed her plea to guilty to the second of the two counts against her. The guilty plea came with a possible prison sentence of a minimum of nine months and up to three years along with a possible fine of up to $10,000.
Luana Mowery also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Capri Gardens, its parent company and Fofana in January. That case will be heard in Cuyahoga County with a hearing scheduled in March.