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June 11th, 2014

RN Charged in Death of 80-Year-Old Woman

PEARL RIVER - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced the arrest of Patricia Smithmyer, a registered and supervising nurse at Golden Hill Care Center in Kingston, who failed to follow the wishes of an 80-year-old resident and the directive of the nursing home by failing to administer CPR when the resident stopped breathing. The failure to offer life-saving care came despite requests from the resident and her family that life-saving procedures be used if the need arose.

Smithmyer, 53, of Kingston, is charged with Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, and Wilful Violation of Health Laws, a misdemeanor. She faces up to four years in prison.

"As people age, many important decisions need to be made by them and their loved ones – in particular, what measures will be taken to sustain life," Attorney General Schneiderman said. "Care centers, such as the one here, have directives in place to ensure the individual’s wishes are followed. When a nurse takes it upon herself to disregard the wishes of a resident, her family and the home’s protocol, she fails in her duty of care. My Ooffice will pursue those who violate the law and their patients’ interests to ensure these difficult decisions are left in the hands of those who are directly affected by the choice."

The resident suffered from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Alzheimer’s disease. While the family and the resident requested the care, the home’s protocol also called for life-saving procedures unless the resident had a Do Not Resuscitate order in effect.

Smithmyer was arraigned in Kingston City Court before Judge Ball and released on her own recognizance.

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