Calling their actions callous and “outrageous,” a Miami grand jury yesterday charged two nurses with manslaughter and third-degree murder for ignoring the pleas of a dying teenager at the Miami-Dade juvenile lockup. Omar Paisley, 17, died June 9 of a ruptured appendix after begging for three days for medical attention. His death, called “tragic” and “preventable” by the grand jury, sparked a cry for reform in Florida’s juvenile justice system.
The grand jury criticized “the utter lack of humanity demonstrated” by officers at the 226-bed center. It described a state juvenile justice system that is poorly administered, woefully underfunded, and sometimes left in the hands of officers who show little regard for children they oversee.
Gaile Loperfido, a licensed practical nurse with 25 years experience, and Dianne Demeritte failed to provide care “that a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of [a] child,” the indictments said. The grand jury suggested Loperfido may have cited visits to Paisley, and a physical exam, that never took place in an attempt to cover up misconduct. An attorney for Loperfido said she was not guilty.