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Buffalo nursing home administrator attacked by daughter of resident

A Buffalo nursing home administrator suffered an apparent neck injury Tuesday morning when a diabetic resident's daughter attacked her during an argument over insulin withheld from her mother, according to several people familiar with the incident.

Sharon Zeames, administrator of Safire Rehabilitation of Southtowns, was transported by ambulance to Mercy Hospital where she was treated in the emergency room and released.

“I heard the daughter screaming, ‘This place is trying to kill my mother.’ The police came and arrested the daughter and they took the administrator out on a stretcher,” a nursing home worker told The Buffalo News.

Charita N. “Rita” Gossom, 42, of Buffalo, the daughter of Maura Radford, was charged with third-degree assault with intent to cause physical injury, a misdemeanor and second-degree harassment, a violation, according to Buffalo Police Capt. Jeff Rinaldo.

"My niece is going to jail because she couldn’t take it. She’s convinced they were trying to kill her mother. She just snapped,” Yonna Harper told The News Tuesday afternoon while at her sister’s bedside in the nursing home at 300 Dorrance Ave.

“We don’t know all the details but there was a family meeting, a discussion and an argument and the administrator was physically attacked,” said Michael Balboni, a Safire spokesman. “The assailant has been arrested by the police and they are conducting an investigation. Our prayers go out to the administrator.”

Harper said the argument turned violent when nursing home officials claimed that Radford was not on insulin when she was admitted there earlier this month from Buffalo General Medical Center for rehabilitation of a fractured right foot.

Radford, 69, says she was prescribed pills for diabetes since 1998, but Buffalo General doctors switched her to insulin shots while she was at the hospital and that the insulin continued at Safire Southtowns until Sunday.

“Rita was here with me this morning when the nurse said my sugar level was high. Rita asked if they were going to give me my insulin. The nurse showed her on the computer screen that they had she had no insulin listed to give me,” Radford said. “Rita knows if you don’t get the insulin you can go into a diabetic coma.”

Harper, who was also visiting Radford, said that a meeting was held to further discuss the situation with the nurse and the administrator.

“When the nurse said my sister was not on insulin when she came into the facility and that they don’t have any records, that’s when Rita jumped up and said, ‘Do you hear this crap?’ " Harper said.

“She left the room and the administrator went out, too," Harper said. She said she was talking with a nurse when she heard a big sound outside the room. "We jumped up and went out and there was the administrator lady on the floor. She was complaining about her neck. Myself and the nurse helped her up. Rita was standing there. She was just livid.”

The nursing home employee who heard Gossom yelling at the administrator said, “I’ve worked here for years and this is the first time an administrator has been attacked.”

The nursing home has an overall two-star rating, "below average," from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It is owned by a company associated with four New York City area residents: Solomon Abramczyk, Judy Landa, Richard Platschek and Robert Schuck.

Safire Southtowns was fined $85,925, the fifth-largest federal fine imposed on a nursing home in New York State in the last three years, for failure, in part, to properly disinfect a shared blood glucose meter. The device is commonly used to test individuals with diabetes.

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