Life support

Court documents: Caregiver charged with negligence after woman put on life support

DISCLAIMER: The following story contains graphic details that may not be suitable for all readers

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Both of his eyes were swollen and bruised.

So was the face of the woman, and her skin was pale.

When Fort Wayne firefighters and medics arrived at a home near the Southwest to find her last February, the woman – previously diagnosed with mental disability and cerebral palsy – was unconscious and on the ground.

She was still breathing, but doctors at the time didn’t give her much of a chance to live.

On Wednesday, Allen County prosecutors charged the woman’s caregiver with one count of negligence of a dependent in connection with the woman’s injuries, which included brain hemorrhages and were so severe that she had to be placed on an artificial respirator and on life support.

Judy A. Baughman

Her caregiver, 76-year-old Judy A. Baughman, claimed in Allen Superior Court papers that the woman sustained her injuries from falling several times over the course of a few days. Still, it took a behavior consultant assigned to the woman to get the doctors involved, according to court documents.

Firefighters and medics were called to Baughman’s home, where the woman lived, on February 15 after the behavior consultant drove there and found her lying on the floor.

The behavior consultant would later tell detectives in court papers that she became suspicious when Baughman told her the woman had gotten “out of control”. She told detectives that Baughman also claimed the woman threw herself on the ground.

She also told Detectives Baughman that the woman first fell on February 10 and has been falling ever since.

The behavior consultant asked to speak with the woman, whom she had known for years. Baughman denied that request, according to court documents.

The consultant began to think the woman might be in trouble and went to the house to find her on the floor. The consultant knew the woman could use the bathroom on her own, but she was wearing an adult diaper, according to court documents.

She called 911.

The woman was taken to the intensive care unit at the Lutheran Hospital, where doctors told doctors she “should not be living at the time”, according to court documents.

Fort Wayne police became involved in the case on February 22.

By then the woman had been taken off her ventilator but was still in the intensive care unit. She still had bruises on her eyes, according to court documents, and told a detective that Baughman was her mother.

The woman said she remembered falling, but couldn’t remember the day. She also said she remembered falling “a lot”, according to court documents. She said that at one point she fell outside in front of Baughman, but Baughman laughed at her and did not help her up.

During an interview with a detective, Baughman claimed in court documents that the woman suffered “most” of her injuries from falling. She then admitted that at one point the woman was on the ground and did not open her eyes or speak, but was breathing.

The detective pointed out in court documents that the woman had to be placed on life support and life support.

Baughman was taken into custody in Allen County on Wednesday morning, but was quickly released, according to prison records.

A court date for his initial hearing has yet to be set.

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