Angelita Williamson, a surgical nurse aide in East Harlem, has been accused of silencing an elderly patient’s life-support alarm overnight in order to get some rest. On January 13, 2015 Williamson was assigned the task of a “one-to-one observation” in which she would monitor the patient’s ventilator overnight to ensure it was working. Colleagues claim they caught the surgical aide sleeping several times during the night with the curtain to the room drawn.
An administrative hearing was held in which three members of the hospital staff attested to Williamson’s sleeping. One person saw her wrapped in a blanket asleep with the lights off and another said she had to shake and hit her to wake her up. The third person stated he entered the room before dawn and saw the patient’s oxygen alarm going off, but the sound had been muted. Despite the events, the patient was unharmed.
The administrative judge recommended the aide be terminated due to a “serious breach of her responsibilities.” Williamson’s attorney is disappointed that she was not given the benefit of the doubt after working there for 17 years and there being several other health care professionals in the area at the time of incident. Williamson remains on the payroll until a final decision is made, however she is not providing direct contact with patients.