Evansville CNA gets probation for slipping anxiety meds into seniors’ food

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A Vanderburgh County nursing aid has been sentenced to more than two years of probation after slipping anxiety medication into the food of senior citizens she was charged with caring for.

Gloria Welborn, 52, will serve 820 days of probation and complete 100 hours of community service after pleading guilty to three counts of Level 6 felony neglect of a dependent, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill announced Wednesday.

Hill’s office investigated and prosecuted Welborn after she was accused of administering clonazepam, an anxiety, panic disorder and seizure medication, to three residents at the Golden LivingCenter – Woodbridge in Evansville. The Schedule IV narcotic had been prescribed to Welborn but administered to three residents of the skilled nursing facility, S.M., J.C. and W.L.

As a certified nurse aide, or CNA, Welborn was not authorized to administer any medications to residents. However, she later told an investigator with Hill’s office that she had been “stressed” on July 9, 2017, the day she covertly gave the medication to the residents. S.M., J.C. and W.L. all had behavioral issues because of their medical conditions, and Welborn told investigators her patients were behaving disruptively on the day in question.

None of the residents suffered last negative consequences from the drug.

Welborn admitted her actions to Evelyn Jones, a licensed practical nurse also working at Golden LivingCenter that day. Jones later told investigators she did not immediately report Welborn’s actions because she thought the CNA was joking, but she reconsidered and informed the director of nursing on July 10. Subsequent blood tests confirmed Jones’ report.

Both Welborn and Jones were terminated on July 11. A case against Jones is currently pending in the Vanderburgh Circuit Court for her failure to timely report Welborn’s actions.

Like Welborn, Jones is charged with three counts of Level 6 felony neglect of a dependent that places the dependent in a situation that endangers the dependent. She is also charged with two counts of Class A misdemeanor interference with medical services. That case is State of Indiana v. Evelyn Jones, 82C01-1903-F6-002006.

Welborn was also charged with three counts of Class A misdemeanor interference with medical services, but all three charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement. The OAG recommended the 820-day suspended sentence in April, and Vanderburgh Circuit Judge Richard G. D’Amour entered judgment on Wednesday.

Welborn’s felony convictions can be converted to misdemeanors if she successfully completes her probation. The terms of Welborn’s probation include random drug testing and substance abuse treatment.

“Yet again, we are working to ensure that professionals in positions of trust are held accountable for their actions,” Hill said in a statement Thursday. “Further, we always appreciate the confidence placed in our office when local prosecutors enlist the services of our attorneys in criminal cases. Collaboration and partnerships are important keys to achieving positive results for Hoosiers.” 

The case against Welborn is State of Indiana v. Gloria Welborn, 82C01-1902-F6-001065.

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