The case made headlines: a former beauty pageant winner and third-generation nurse was arrested for breaking the leg of her patient, a non-verbal, medically fragile minor. It provoked anger and a race to judgment but recently saw a surprising conclusion. The former beauty queen was found innocent but is still paying a high price.
In a case that took four years to resolve, Amy Koutsopoulos saw her whole world turned upside down, her healthcare career destroyed, and her future put in jeopardy. What's most shocking about the case is just how easy it was for Koutsopoulos to have her livelihood, not to mention her self-confidence and mental health, thrown into serious jeopardy.
A Position of Trust and Compassion
Like anyone who works in nursing or home health care, Koutsopoulos had to abide by certain strict professional standards in order to maintain her license. By the time of the incident, she had successfully worked as a licensed nurse for 13 years. She took a position caring for a child, Audriana, who could neither walk nor talk and required 24/7 home care. She was on the job for 10 months before an incident occurred that would change their lives.
On July 9, 2019, Koutsopoulos worked at Audriana's home with her mother. The two noticed that the child had some swelling and rushed the girl to University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital in Cleveland.
Once at the hospital, doctors discovered that Audriana had a broken femur, a fractured ankle bone, and other injuries. The hospital suspected abuse, and the Lorain Police Department interrogated Koutsopoulos. She and her mother lost their professional licenses, and eight months later, she was arrested and charged in the case.
The Long Road to Justice
After four years, bouts of deep depression and trauma, Koutsopoulos found a lawyer who dismantled all the prosecutor's charges one by one. Her legal team found evidence that suggested the injuries were old and likely caused by prior treatment and rehabilitation. The jury believed them. And Koutsopoulos was cleared of wrongdoing.
Of the many interesting factors in this case, one that stands out is that legal charges came late—eight months after the incident—but the revocation of the nursing license was quick. In fact, the investigatory and adjudication of cases involving professional licensing follow their own timeline and may take you—if you are being investigated—off guard.
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