Sisters Effie Stagnitti and Zoe Bonello hid a camera in Caulfield Hospital, uncovering the alleged abuse of their disabled brother, Billy Aivaliotis. Source: Channel 9
Sisters Effie Stagnitti and Zoe Bonello hid a camera in Caulfield Hospital, uncovering the alleged abuse of their disabled brother, Billy Aivaliotis. Source: Channel 9

Sisters discover abuse of disabled brother

THE sisters of a disabled man who was allegedly assaulted by a nurse - and could not tell a soul what was happening to him - have spoken about their horror at unearthing the abuse when they installed a hidden camera.

"It's heart-wrenching. He didn't deserve that," a distressed and angry Effie Stagnitti told A Current Affair of the shocking footage which shows her brother, Billy Aivaliotis, 33, who also has cerebral palsy, allegedly being abused by a male nurse.

At one point, he is allegedly choked around the throat.

Billy's sisters were distraught and felt "helpless" when they saw the images of their brother in distress.

He had been hospitalised in the wake of a car accident last May, in a unit specialising in brain-injured patients. He has difficulty communicating after being born with cerebral palsy.

But as the months went by at Caulfield Hospital, relatives were worried about his weight loss and the repeated, unexplained bruises.

The footage allegedly shows a nurse with a hand around Billy’s neck. Source: Channel 9/A Current Affair
The footage allegedly shows a nurse with a hand around Billy’s neck. Source: Channel 9/A Current Affair

The sisters were suspicious of staff - and not just because of the bruises. They'd also noticed Billy's behaviour had changed.

"Every time I would look at him, I could just see the sadness," Zoe Bonello said.

"I could see that he was trying to tell me something, but it was like he was stuck in his own little bubble."

With Billy unable to tell what was happening to him, they planted the camera.

On January 22, they watched it in horror, seeing their brother allegedly being grabbed around the throat, and roughly pushed down and held down on his bed.

The nurse has been stood down from the Caulfield Hospital and no longer works for Alfred Health.

Sisters Effie Stagnitti and Zoe Bonello talk about discovering the alleged abuse of their disabled brother. Source: Channel 9/A Current Affair
Sisters Effie Stagnitti and Zoe Bonello talk about discovering the alleged abuse of their disabled brother. Source: Channel 9/A Current Affair

"We're waiting on the police and hopefully charges can be made," Mrs Stagnitti said.

"I want to know that these people are in the right care and are being looked after the way they deserve to be looked after."

Victoria police are investigating and Billy's family have launched civil proceedings against the hospital.

"They had made their concerns known to the wider nursing staff but they fell on deaf ears," family lawyer Nick Korkliniewski told AAP.

"Billy suffers from cerebral palsy, has been hit by a car, and now this.

"His brain injury is such that he was not properly able to articulate what was happening."

Alfred Health, which operates Caulfield Hospital, became aware of the serious concerns last week and began an internal investigation, notifying police after Mr Aivaliotis's family revealed the video.

"The video material presented to us by the family is distressing and shocking, and not in keeping with the culture of advanced care patients and families should experience in our hospitals."

Police said they were investigating a number of alleged unlawful assaults on a patient at the hospital.

A 30-year-old Cranbourne West man has been interviewed by police and released pending further inquiries.

Born with cerebral palsy, Billy was hit by a car last May, and struggles to communicate. Source: Channel 9/A Current Affair
Born with cerebral palsy, Billy was hit by a car last May, and struggles to communicate. Source: Channel 9/A Current Affair
News Corp Australia

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