Allegheny County

Nurse’s license suspended after being accused of abusing student on school van

BRIGHTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — 11 Investigates is getting results for local parents after a long and frustrating journey.

A nurse who was accused of abusing a student on a school van now has his license suspended months after the alleged abuse.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE >>> Local nurse charged with assault after allegedly roughing up special needs student

For the last eight months, Jennifer Gorzock and her family checked Craig Schmersal’s nursing status every night — and there was never a change.

But, a week after our story aired, showing the alleged abuse that took place on a school bus, and Gorzock’s pleas for Schmersal’s nursing license to be revoked, it finally happened.

“It’s a shame that it takes someone shedding light on a subject to actually get things done, and help protect people like Cooper,” Gorzock said.

Surveillance video from the bus shows Cooper and Schmersal sitting next to each other.

Cooper has a seizure disorder and is non-verbal.

The nurse pushes the boy’s head and yells at him to stop screaming, then you see him press down on Cooper’s shoulder, where he has a wired device implanted to prevent his seizures.

Despite criminal charges, the state waited eight months to suspend Schermsal’s nursing license — meaning that the whole time, he may have been working with other patients.

“We were just fed up we didn’t know where else to turn or go. We decided to make Cooper’s story public to let others know that if this is happening to them, this is not OK.” Gorzock added.

New state documents show that there was also verbal abuse.

Investigators say Schmersal told Cooper that he was the “worst patient ever,” and that he hates him.

“Cooper was screamed at in the face and told that he was hated. And he was never able to tell us that,” she said.

Now that Schmersal’s license is suspended, Gorzock feels going public with her son’s story may have saved others.

“No other patient will be under his care and potentially suffer the same abuse that Cooper suffered,” she said.

There will be a hearing at some point to determine if Schmersal’s license will be permanently suspended.  This case is planned to go to trial this summer.

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