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EMT Parts Ways with Catskill and Windham after Video of Alleged Patient Mistreatment

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 5/27/24 | 5/27/24

By Andrea Macko / Porcupine Soup

WINDHAM―The EMT who parted ways with Catskill Ambulance this week after being recorded on camera apparently mistreating a disabled patient has now resigned from the second agency she was working for.

Windham Town Supervisor Thomas Hoyt responded Tuesday to an inquiry regarding whether EMT Laura Mastrantuono was still employed by the town’s ambulance. Hoyt did not identify Mastrantuono by name but said the EMT in question has “tendered a resignation.”

The incident, which was captured on an outside Nest camera, happened shortly after 7 p.m. on the evening of Friday, May 17 when Catskill Ambulance was dispatched to 466 Main Street in the village for a 911 call reporting a 63-year-old man who was unable to get up and experiencing difficulty breathing.

“They wouldn't help him down the stairs, he wasn't able to get onto the bed in the back of the ambulance, they let him fall and wouldn't help him up,” said Andrea Corrie, a close friend of the patient and his wife.

Corrie was in England when she was sent footage Friday night from a Nest camera outside the couple’s apartment and says what she saw was shocking. She posted the video on YouTube where it has been viewed more than 14,000 times.

“The Catskill Town Board is deeply concerned about a recent video we have been made aware of.   The Town and the two members of the Ambulance Service who were involved with the recent incident have agreed to part ways,” Catskill Town Supervisor Patrick McCulloch said in a statement Monday afternoon.

Town officials have not named the two providers, but sources within EMS identified them as Mastrantuono and Paramedic Justin Ball. It was unclear whether Ball is or was employed anywhere besides Catskill Ambulance.

Corrie says both the man and his wife have intellectual disabilities and due to health issues, some physical debilities. The man has diabetes and has suffered a few strokes, she explained.

“So, his left side is very weak and he isn't able to lift things or, as you can see from him struggling to get onto the bed then falling off, unable to support himself at all with his left arm or leg. His balance is also very bad because he has partial amputation to one foot,” Corrie added.

In the video, the man is waiting on a second-floor porch with his wife when the ambulance pulls up. Mastrantuono yells up to them: “I can’t carry him down the stairs. He is gonna have to go on his butt and come down.”

Later, the man appears to struggle to climb into the back of the ambulance while Mastrantuono sits inside and Ball stands behind him.

When the man falls to the floor of the ambulance, Mastrantuono shouts at him, “You need to get up.”

The two then accuse him of faking the fall. Ball threatens to call police and report the man for abusing the 911 system.

“I have no pity for this. This is a waste of my time right now,” Ball says.

The man’s wife comes down to the ambulance and tries to help pull his legs out the back doors while he yells in alleged pain. Ball then begins yanking the man out of the back of the ambulance by his legs while he bellows. Eventually the man gets himself onto the stretcher.

“I’m sorry man, I’m not trying to laugh at you, but I feel like I’m dealing with a teenager right now. I feel like I’m dealing with my seven-year-old that won’t follow directions,” Ball says. “That’s really what I feel like. I’m not trying to be mean. My seven-year-old listens better.”

Mastrantuono then says to the man’s wife, “Make sure you don’t call later because you want to go there to be with him.”

After taking the man’s vitals in the back of the ambulance, Mastrantuono comments that they are “fantastic,” and she doesn’t know why he needs to go to the hospital.

“Well at this point he is going because he can’t get out of the [expletive deleted] ambulance,” Ball replies.

The man was transported to Columbia Memorial Hospital in Hudson and Saturday afternoon Corrie said the man’s family was told that doctors discovered he had internal bleeding, was not getting enough blood to his brain, and would need a transfusion. He was released from the hospital and at home on Tuesday.

New York State Department of Health (DOH) spokesperson Danielle R. De Souza confirmed Monday that the state is looking into Friday’s incident in Catskill.

“This is the subject of an open investigation, and the department cannot comment at this time,” De Souza said.

The DOH, through its Bureau of EMS, has the authority to investigate and bring action against EMS agencies and individual providers based on complaints that include, but are not limited to, poor patient care, according to its website. Sanctions may result in civil penalties, suspensions, or revocation of certification.

In January of 2019, Mastrantuono was arrested by the Hudson City Police Department and charged with misdemeanor petit larceny. According to police and news reports at the time, the charge stemmed from her alleged theft of a patient’s cell phone. It reportedly occurred at Columbia Memorial Hospital while Mastrantuono was working for Windham Ambulance.

Columbia County District Attorney’s Office Community Liaison Ann Pazera said Monday that Mastrantuono’s case was settled with an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal, commonly known as ACOD. Mastrantuono served 15 hours of community service and did not get rearrested within six months, so the charge was dismissed, Pazera said.

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