Yesterday (Aug. 17), a caretaker in Florida was arrested after authorities say the woman beat her patient and pulled out their hair by dragging them from their braids. The Leon County Sheriff’s Office and Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit identified the health care professional as Makala Malcolm.
Officials say the abuse Malcolm inflicted was so severe that patches of hair were missing from the patient’s scalp. Visible redness and blood could also be observed, according to local NBC affiliate WFLA 8. Following the caretaker’s arrest, Attorney General Ashley Moody released a statement. “This is appalling,” she began. Moody added, “Caregivers are supposed to nurture their patients, not rip out their hair. Thankfully, my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigators and local law enforcement stopped this suspect before more harm could be done.”
It is not immediately known if Malcolm abused other patients at her Florida workplace. She currently faces one count of abuse of an elderly or disabled adult, which counts as a third-degree felony. If a court finds her guilty of the crimes, she would have to pay $5,000 in fines and could be sentenced to up to five years in prison. A news release from Moody’s office states the case will be prosecuted through an agreement with the Office of State Attorney Jack Campbell in the Second Judicial Circuit.
Although the caretaker’s arrest was announced yesterday, sources say the disturbing incident happened about a month ago at a Sunrise private developmental care facility. According to the Sunrise Group website, the company serves over 2,000 people across seven states. They also promise “to treat each person with dignity, respect and compassion.” The company offers a wide variety of services for kids, members of the community and those who require supported living. At this time, there has been no public statement in relation to the incident, which is currently under investigation.