A surgical aide at an East Harlem hospital is accused of muting the alarm on an elderly patient's ventilator so she wouldn't be disturbed while sleeping during her overnight shift.
Angelita Williamson, a 17-year employee at the Henry J. Carter Specialty Hospital faces termination for allegedly muting the device while working her shift on on Jan. 13, 2015, the New York Post reported.
Williamson was tasked solely with monitoring the patient’s ventilator.
Documents show that Williamson’s co-workers found her sleeping in the patient’s room with the lights off during her shift.
During an administrative hearing, one hospital employee testified that they found the machine’s alarm flashing and its alert muted when they came into the room around dawn. Another testified that she had to shake Williamson awake at one point. However, a third employee said she saw the aide awake in the patient’s room several times throughout the night.
The patient wasn't harmed.
Williamson faces termination for a “serious breach of her responsibilities,” an administrative judge said in the documents. Williamson, who remains on the payroll but is not caring directly for patients, has until Friday to respond.
“I was disappointed that after 17 years on the job that she wasn’t given the benefit of the doubt, particularly when there were so many other health-care professionals in the vicinity at the time of the incident,” Williamson’s lawyer, Richard Washington, said.