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Former Nursing Home Administrator Sentenced
A former administrator at a Lake Isabella nursing home was sentenced to three years probation Wednesday for allowing patients to be drugged to keep them in line.
The State Attorney General's office said eight patients were over-medicated and three later died.
Pamela Ott and her companion didn't want to answer questions as they emerged from the courtroom where Ott received her sentence.
"No, my attorney has advised me not to," she said.
Ott's attorney didn't want to talk either. "I'm sorry I've got to get to another courtroom."
Judge Michael Bush handed down a sentence of three years probation and 300 hours of community service to Ott, who pleaded 'no contest' to a felony conspiracy charge.
"We believe this is the first time in the country that a hospital administrator has been held criminally responsible for the administration of psychotropic drugs by lower-ranking staff for the convenience of staff, rather than any therapeutic reason," said Steven Muni, Deputy Attorney General.
Ott was one of four people charged in the deaths of elderly patients at a nursing facility near Lake Isabella.
Muni says staff administered the drugs to keep unruly patients calm. "This is not the first time this has happened by any stretch of the imagination. Nationally, it has become a problem," he said.
The Deputy Attorney General says the plea deal reached in this case was a good outcome because at least some of the evidence was circumstantial.
"They died, not as a direct consequence of the medications, but because one of the side effects of the medications, we maintain, is they stopped taking medication, stopped eating, stopped drinking," said Muni.
The nursing director at the facility faces ten felony charges when she goes to trial October 22nd.