Montgomery County

Two allegedly endangered disabled person in Canajoharie

Two women responsible for the care of a person with disabilities at a Montgomery County facility wer

Two women responsible for the care of a person with disabilities at a Montgomery County facility were charged for allegedly failing to call 911 when the person couldn’t breathe, state officials said Friday.

The person only got help when another staff member demanded they call 911. The resident survived, but remained hospitalized for weeks, according to the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs.

“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,” special prosecutor Patricia E. Gunning said in news release. “Vulnerable New Yorkers should expect that in an emergency, their caretakers will call 911.”

Charged are JoAnn Fuller, 62, of Canajoharie, and Shari Herting, 52, of Palatine Bridge.

Herting was assigned to directly care for the victim, while officials identified Fuller as the facility’s manager.

The exact nature of the residence was unclear, but Liberty ARC in Amsterdam employed the women. Both women have been placed on administrative leave. According to the indictment, the incident happened April 6, 2015 in Canajoharie.

They face one count each of felony endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, along with one misdemeanor count each of second-degree endangering and second-degree reckless endangerment.

Both women appeared in Montgomery County Court for the unsealing of their indictment Friday morning. Attorney George Abdella represented both for their appearance and entered not guilty pleas in each case.

Abdella is to continue representing Fuller; Herting is to return to court next week with her own attorney.

Judge Felix Catena allowed both women to remain free on a $10,000 unsecured bond. He also issued orders of protection preventing the women from having any contact with the victim.

Abdella questioned the order, saying it would prevent them from returning to work. They might run into the “so-called victim,” he said. State officials confirmed later that Liberty placed both on leave.

“There’s no evidence other than this piece of paper that any harm ever came to her from anything these folks have done,” Abdella told the judge.

But assistant special prosecutor Rachel Dunn noted that the indictment is the result of evidence presented to a Montgomery County grand jury.

Herting had been assigned to care for the victim earlier that day, preparing her for a routine medical exam. The victim began struggling to breathe, became unable to stand and appeared gray in color, the state says. Neither Herting nor Fuller summoned medical attention, state officials allege. Instead, the other staff member demanded it 30 minutes later.

Paramedics arrived to find the victim suffering from acute respiratory failure. They took her to St. Mary’s Hospital in Amsterdam, where they admitted her to the Intensive Care Unit. She survived, but remained hospitalized for several weeks.

Categories: -News-, Schenectady County

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