TRENTON, N.J. — A registered nurse caught on video stabbing an autistic boy with a hypodermic needle to control his behavior has agreed to surrender her license during an investigation, officials said.
Naomi Derrick agreed to the temporary suspension after she was accused of gross negligence, professional misconduct and incompetence in her treatment of the 10-year-old, who is an inpatient at AtlantiCare Regional Health Care's psychiatric unit in Atlantic City, officials said.
"A developmentally disabled child, confined to a psychiatric ward under the supervision of nurses, is as vulnerable a patient as you can find," said Christopher Porrino, acting attorney general.
According to documents filed with the New Jersey Board of Nursing, the assaults were captured by a video camera or witnessed by another hospital employee May 15.
The nurse brandished the syringe in a menacing manner and threatened the boy that she would "give him theneedle" if he did not behave, according to the filed documents. On at least six occasions, Derrick stabbed the boy with the unsheathed hypodermic needle, sometimes repeatedly, in his upper arm, thigh, kneecaps, foot and hand, according to the documents.
Authorities said the nurse also tried to force the boy to comply by stepping on his bare foot with her shoe and bending his pinky finger back until a crack was heard.
"Her alleged actions demonstrate a shocking departure from the most basic standards of care, let alone the standard of care one would expect for a child with special needs," said Steve Lee, director of the Division of Consumer Affairs.
Derrick couldn't be reached for comment. The Associated Press called a phone number that apparently belongs to her, and its voicemail box was full.