Nurse stabbed autistic boy with needles, bent his finger for disobeying, officials say
ATLANTIC CITY — An Atlantic County nurse has been accused of repeatedly assaulting a 10-year-old autistic boy, stabbing him with a hypodermic needle and bending his finger backward until it cracked when he disobeyed orders.
Nurse Naomi Derrick has agreed to a temporary license suspension after acting Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino filed a complaint with the Board of Nursing accusing her of gross negligence, professional misconduct, and incompetence in her treatment of the child, who resides at the medical facility.
The boy was under Derrick's care at the inpatient psychiatric unit of AtlantiCare Regional Health Care’s City Campus, the state Office of the Attorney General said in an announcement of the licenses suspension.
“A developmentally disabled child, confined to a psychiatric ward under the supervision of nurses, is as vulnerable a patient as you can find,” Porrino said in the announcement. “Instead of caring for this boy and protecting him from harm, as was her duty, Naomi Derrick allegedly used her position of authority to bully and assault him. There is no place in the healthcare profession for this kind of barbaric behavior.”
The OAG said she won't have any access to patients of any age while the complaint is pending.
“Her alleged actions demonstrate a shocking departure from the most basic standards of care, let alone the standard of care one would expect for a child with special needs," Department of Community Affairs director Steve Lee said. "If Nurse Derrick had not agreed to voluntarily surrender her license, the board was prepared to take action to suspend it.”
According to the announcement, the assaults took place on May 15 and were captured on videocamera or witnessed by another hospital employee.
"Derrick several times brandished the syringe in a menacing manner and threatened the boy that she would 'give him the needle' if he did not behave, according to the filed documents," the OAG wrote.
It continued: "On at least six occasions throughout the day, Derrick stabbed the boy with the unsheathed hypodermic needle, sometimes repeatedly, according to the filed documents. She stuck the boy in his upper arm, thigh, kneecaps, foot, and hand – each time drawing droplets of blood, according to the documents."
The complaint also alleges Derrick tried to force compliance from the boy by stepping on his bare foot with her shoe, forcing him to fall by repeatedly shoving a chair he was holding onto, and bending his pinky finger back until a crack was heard.
The OAG said the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office is conducting a criminal investigation of the matter.
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