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  1. #1
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    Volunteer rescuer worker, patient facing charges

    Volunteer rescuer worker, patient facing charges

    Case of slaps and punches traded during emergency call in Frenchtown to be determined in courtroom

    Star-Ledger Staff

    A Frenchtown volunteer rescuer allegedly slapped an unresponsive patient in efforts to revive him, and he allegedly punched her in the face after he came to during an emergency call in Frenchtown last month, according to authorities.

    The back and forth didn't stop there.

    Police said they charged the patient, Warren Wiseburn, 58, with third-degree aggravated assault, and he filed a counter-complaint against Patty Atheras, captain of the local Emergency Medical Service squad that tried to help Wiseburn on April 21.

    Police Chief Al Kurylka said Wiseburn signed a complaint against Atheras, 41, charging her with simple assault.

    "It's very ugly. She's already got her attorneys. The matter will be determined in court," said Kurylka.

    The court to hear the case is to be determined by the Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office, which is reviewing whether the case should be heard at the state Superior Court level, or be remanded back to the municipal level, said the chief. The third-degree aggravated assault charge filed against Wiseburn is an indictable offense, which the prosecutor's office could present to a grand jury.

    Wiseburn, a supermarket worker, said he was advised by a public defender representing him not to discuss the charges. He claimed he suffered from epilepsy, a neurological disorder that triggers sometimes disabling seizures.

    "Sometimes I go out, and that night I just went," he said, trying to recall events leading up to the emergency call, which came in just after 11 p.m.

    Authorities and EMS personnel were summoned to a retirement and rooming house on Harrison Street where Wiseburn resides, after he was found "unresponsive," according to police.

    Chief Kurylka, who had known Wiseburn previously, and referred to him by his first name, said Atheras was among the volunteer EMS responders. He said she "started to try to get some kind of response from Warren during which time she was smacking Warren in the face."

    Wiseburn then came to, according to the chief, "and punched her in the face."

    Kurylka said that anyone assaulting police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel, while in the performance of their duties, risks getting arrested.

    "It's an automatic aggravated assault," he said.

    Wiseburn, who refused treatment at the scene, later signed a complaint against Atheras, charging her with simple assault.

    "Anyone, as a private citizen, has a right to file a counter-complaint," said Kurylka.

    Police arrested, processed and charged the EMS volunteer, and released her on her own recognizance. Her lawyer did not return a call seeking comment yesterday.

    Authorities and health professionals who routinely fend off aggressive patients questioned whether the police went too far in charging Wiseburn.

    "Maybe he didn't know what the heck was going on?" asked a former nurse who worked at Muhlenberg Hospital in Plainfield in the 1960s, and who is also named Patricia Atheras.

    Atheras said she believed there may be a family connection with the volunteer EMS worker through her husband, and was glad she was defending herself from the counter-charges. "Good for her," she said.

    Wiseburn said his recollection of the emergency call was vague.

    "I know something of it, not all of it," he said. "She (did) something to me, and I responded the other way."

  2. #2
    gozling's Avatar
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    Wiseburn said his recollection of the emergency call was vague


    We dallied under
    Vine maples and sapling alders
    Searched for lady slippers
    But instead
    Found blackberry riots and
    Desiccated branches

    An old skid road
    Brought ghost ferns and
    Hollows filled with
    Skunk cabbage
    While waves wrapped
    Intricate lacings of weeds
    'Round mule spinners

    His cyanotic eyes
    Were hard enough to make
    The sun turn tail and
    Tender enough to attract me
    To his world of illusion

  3. #3
    Ducky's Avatar
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    I hope they toss the case against her, then deny him future emergency services.
    ` ` ` ` < ` )___/\
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    "...but to forget your duck, of course, means you're really screwed." - Gary Larson



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