FONDA, NY (NEWS10) – Two women employed by Liberty ARC in Amsterdam were arraigned on an indictment that charged them with endangering a person with physical and developmental disabilities.
In this case, the two women failed to call 911 to get emergency medical attention for the victim when she became unresponsive.
The indictment was unsealed Friday after 62-year old JoAnn Fuller of Canajoharie and 53-year-old Shari Herting of Palatine Bridge were arraigned in Montgomery County court.
Both fuller and Herting pled not guilty to one count of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the first degree, a Class E Felony, one count of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the second degree, a Class A Misdemeanor, and one count of Reckless Endangerment in the second degree, a Class A Misdemeanor.
“The defendants in this case had a duty to care for this individual, yet exposed the victim to grave danger when they allegedly failed to promptly call 911 for emergency medical assistance,” said Special Prosecutor Gunning. “Vulnerable New Yorkers should expect that in an emergency, their caretakers will call 911. The failure of trained workers to do so while this victim’s life hung in the balance is unacceptable.”
The indictment follows an investigation conducted by the Justice Center into an incident which occurred in April of 2015. Earlier in the day, Herting was assigned to care for the victim and was preparing her for a routine medical exam.
When the victim began struggling to breathe and was unable to stand and appeared gray in color neither Herting nor Fuller, the facility’s manager, got medical attention for the victim until another staff member demanded they call 911 approximately 30 minutes later.
When paramedics arrived at the facility, the victim was in critical condition suffering from acute respiratory failure and was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Amsterdam and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. While the victim survived, she remained in the hospital for several weeks.
Both defendants have been placed on administrative leave. Bail was set at $10,000 appearance bond. Herting is due back in court on March 21, 2016. No adjourn has yet to be set for Fuller.