Documents reveal disturbing abuse allegations against nursing assistant

The Zambarano Memorial Unit of Eleanor Slater Hospital is located in Burrillville, R.I. (WPRI 12)

BURRILLVILLE, R.I (WPRI) — A Certified Nursing Assistant is accused of verbally and physically abusing her patients, according to state police records obtained by Eyewitness News.

Lynda Proietti of Danielson, Conn. was charged with patient abuse earlier this month. The arrest report released by Rhode Island State Police Wednesday revealed disturbing new details of what her co-workers told investigators she did and said to her patients at the Eleanor Slater Hospital’s Zambarano Unit.

One co-worker reported to police that Proietti told a patient, “roll over [expletive], you’re dying anyway.” Another coworker told police that while treating a patient, “Proietti stated she would like him to die on her birthday.”

The Zambarano Unit is part of the state-run hospital and serves patients requiring long-term care. In this case, police say Proietti’s patients were non-verbal and unable to report the alleged abuse.

In their statements to police, Proietti’s coworkers also described her “manhandling” patients and being rough while lifting, rolling, or boosting them.

Some of the most disturbing comments use derogatory language to imply that patients were going to be sexually assaulted.

Police don’t know of a motive.

“There is no reason,” said Maj. Joseph Philbin in an interview one day after the April 5 arrest. “The person who was arrested is a veteran of the system, has been a nurse for quite some time. So that’s the question we’re all asking.”

Police said Proietti did not make a statement to investigators. She was charged with one felony count of patient abuse: simple assault, and two misdemeanor counts of patient abuse: intimidation. She was released on $2,000 personal recognizance and is due in court on June 8.

A spokesperson for the Dept. of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals said the allegations were first made in January. Proietti was placed on leave and state police were notified.

“We will not stand for abuse of any kind in any of our facilities,” spokesperson Maria Montanaro said at the time of the arrest.

“We inherited a hospital system that had been neglected for too long,” added Health and Human Services Secretary Elizabeth Robers. “But there is no excuse for this type of behavior.”

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