Nanticoke Nurse Convicted Of Manslaughter Now A Fugitive
WILKES-BARRE — A registered nurse convicted of manslaughter over a patient’s death is now a fugitive.
Kelly E. Levandowski, 40, of Nanticoke, failed to appear in court Wednesday to be sentenced for involuntary manslaughter. The charges alleged she “intentionally, knowingly or negligently” failed to provide sufficient care to Melvin Johnson, 72, who died after going into cardiac arrest at the Guardian Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center at 147 Old Newport St., on June 20, 2013.
Levandowski was initially charged with neglect of care of a dependant person, a felony charge that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. But in September she pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, a misdemeanor offense with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
She was permitted to remain free on $25,000 unsecured bail pending sentencing.
In court Wednesday, defense attorney John Pike said Levandowski had recently contacted his office but he did not know why she was a no-show. Deputy Attorney General Chris Jason requested a bench warrant, noting that Johnson’s family from Maryland was present.
“They drove up specifically for the sentencing today,” Jason said.
Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough granted the request, issuing a bench warrant for Levandowski’s arrest and revoking her bail.
Authorities began investigating Levandowski after the state Department of Health cited Guardian in 2013 for failing to provide adequate monitoring.
According to prosecutors, Johnson had a ruptured aneurism and brain bleeding, and was admitted to Guardian on the day of her death after being removed from a ventilator.
The charges alleged at least four staff members told Levandowski, a shift supervisor, they were concerned about Johnson pulling on a breathing tube. But Levandowski stayed seated at the nursing station, prosecutors said.
At one point when Johnson pulled out the tube, Levandowski reinserted it, but she failed to call 911 as required by facility policy, prosecutors said. About a half-hour later, another nurse found Johnson had pulled out the tube and was unresponsive, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors said Levandowski claimed to have performed CPR until medics arrived, although no one saw her do it. One nurse reported Levandowski directed her to fill out a form indicating regular 15-minute checks had been performed on Johnson, even though they had not been, according to prosecutors.
According to Pennsylvania Department of State records, Levandowski’s registered nursing license expired Oct. 31.
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