Nurse stabbed boy with autism, bent fingers for disobeying, NJ says
ATLANTIC CITY — An Atlantic County nurse who'd been accused of repeatedly using needles to stab a 10-year-old boy with autism, and of bending his finger for disobeying has lost her license — three years after the accusations first came to light.
Naomi Derrick, of Sicklerville, continually threatened the child with a needle, then followed through and jabbed him with it at least six times in a 12-hour overnight shift at the Atlanticare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City on May 15, 2016, the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs said in a statement this week.
The incidents were witnessed by a fellow employee and captured on security cameras, the statement said. Derrick stuck the child on his upper arm, thigh, kneecaps, foot, and hand, frequently drawing droplets of blood, the statement said.
“The conduct at issue in this case ... demonstrated a level of cruelty that has no place in the nursing profession, and is entirely unacceptable," Attorney General Grewal said in the statement.
New Jersey is also seeking the revocation of Derrick’s respiratory therapist license under the State Board of Respiratory Care.
“Intimidating and terrorizing a developmentally disabled child who is completely dependent on your care is a horror that should not be visited upon anyone,” Paul R. Rodríguez, acting director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, said in the statement.
The State Board of Nursing this week, in revoking her license, described Derrick’s conduct as “egregious and disturbing."
“Quite simply, (Derrick) should not be a nurse,” the Board concluded. “With her license revoked, she has lost the privilege to practice."
And it said her acts "were of a magnitude that would assuredly militate against any future reinstatement of that privilege.”
The board's decision was based on the conclusions of an administrative law judge who heard Derrick's case in March. According to the state, Derrick denied ever touching the boy with the needle "but conceded that throughout the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. shift she did continually unsheathe the needle and threaten him with it to 'calm him down.'"
It said Derrick testified that "the boy would call her names, pull her hair, throw a sheet at her, and try to leave the room and go into other patients’ rooms."
She admitted telling the boy he'd be "put in restraints and get the injection," the state said. She also testified another nurse had instructed her to do that, but not in writing.
During an earlier hearing, Derrick had argued her license shouldn't be revoked — but suspended instead — because there no blood or bruising could be seen on the video, and an examination didn't turn up obvious signs of injury.
In August 2017, Derrick was criminally charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threats, child endangerment, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose (the syringe). The DCA said that inb January, she entered pretrial intervention program — a form of probation — to resolve those charges.
New Jersey 101.5 initially reported on the allegations against Derrick in July of 2016. At the time, she'd agreed to a temporary license suspension after then-acting Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino filed a complaint with the Board of Nursing.
The complaint against her also alleged 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 new statement from the DCA doesn't address those specific allegations.
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