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Charges Dropped Against Sentosa Nurses

Moser, Jennifer

Section Editor(s): Kennedy, Maureen Shawn MA, RN

AJN The American Journal of Nursing: April 2009 - Volume 109 - Issue 4 - p 18
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000348584.58426.38
In the News

Court determined that the 10 Philippine nurses didn't endanger patients.

E-mail: shawn.kennedy@wolterskluwer.com

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The "Sentosa 10" were given "a clean bill of health" and found new employment in nursing homes and in a hospital after their criminal charges of conspiracy and patient endangerment were dropped, according to their lawyer James Druker.

The 10 nurses, hired while still in the Philippines to work in U.S. nursing homes managed by Sentosa Care, LLC, found working and living conditions different from what they'd been promised, according to the January 13 decision by the New York State Supreme Court's appellate division. Their attorney at the time, Felix Vinluan, advised them that, under the circumstances, they could legally resign. After the 10 nurses' joint resignation, they and Vinluan were prosecuted (see "An American Dream Gone Wrong," In the News, August 2007).

In January, the court determined that, contrary to Sentosa Care's accusations, the nurses didn't leave their posts in midshift or abandon their patients, who included children as well as adults.

"They're so happy this cloud has been lifted off them," said Druker, adding that some of the nurses had lost "terrific" job opportunities while the indictment stood open. Leonila Navarro-Mariazeta, president of the Philippine Nurses Association of New York, wrote in an e-mail to AJN that the charges may have discouraged other Filipino nurses from seeking U.S. positions. "However, the dismissal of the criminal case will revive their interest," she said, "knowing that they can get justice here."

Sentosa Care still has a civil case for breach of contract against the 10 nurses, says its attorney Howard Fensterman, who confirmed that the company isn't facing charges for its treatment of the nurses. But Druker says the nurses plan to file counterclaims against Sentosa in civil court.

Jennifer Moser

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.