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Bronx Nursing Home Aide Charged In Death Of 77-Year-Old Patient

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- An aide at a Bronx nursing home is facing charges in connection with the death of a 77-year-old patient.

According to law enforcement sources, the fight that broke out between the aide and the victim was so intense that witnesses told police they had to pull the two apart, 1010 WINS' Sonia Rincon reported.

Bronx Nursing Home Aide Charged In Death Of 77-Year-Old Patient

Police said during the altercation Frank Mercado fell onto a broken table in the room, and a piece of metal impaled him. He was rushed to Montefiore Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries hours later.

A University nursing home spokesperson wouldn't give specifics about the investigation, but said they are fully cooperating with authorities.

"University nursing home has a five-star rating from This facility has an exemplary healthcare history," University Nursing Home spokesperson, Thomas McCardin said.

The aide, 41-year-old Cherrylee Young, has been charged with criminally negligent homicide, felony assault and endangering the welfare of an adult. She was released on bail after pleading not guilty, Rincon reported.

Sources say Young claims Mercado attacked her first. Young and her attorney had no comment in court.

Young worked at the home for 14 years. A source told 1010 WINS that she does not have a criminal history.

As CBS2's Emily Smith reported, the issue of health care aide abuse is not an isolated one.

Pete Mazza, 99, was allegedly abused, and terrorized by his home health care aides, according to his children.

Mazza wound up with fractured ribs and a head injury. He died in a nursing home two months later.

Nearly 4-million elderly Americans are abused each year, and experts say finding good care for them can be a gamble.

"There's no real way for people to know whether they're dealing with the right agency," Geriatric Care Manager, Jack Halpern said.

In Mercado's case the abuse allegedly happened at a facility, and stemmed from a dispute over the patient wanting to get out of bed. While Young is innocent until proven guilty, prosecutors say there has been little relief for the grieving family of the 77-year-old man.

Mercado is out on bail. She is due back in court on January 13, and is expected to plead not guilty if the grand jury indicts her.

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