Former DeWitt group home nurse accused of sleeping on the job, causing patient's death

Tanya Lemon, 35, is accused of falling asleep on the job, ultimately causing a patient's death.


former group home nurse is accused of sleeping on the job, while she was responsible for caring for a person living with developmental disabilities, and ultimately causing that individual's death.

35-year-old Tanya Lemon of Syracuse is charged with Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person.

Investigators say Lemon's actions contributed to -- and ultimately caused -- the patient's death.

According to a complaint filed with the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, Lemon fell asleep while working at the Briarwood Home in DeWitt. As a result, a patient did not get the adequate oxygen levels they required. The patient died two weeks later.

Lemon, a licensed practical nurse with Central New York DDSO, was responsible for checking on the patient every two hours. The patient had to wear an oxygen mask and was described in the complaint as "medically frail."

According to the complaint, not only did the patient not receive their supplemental oxygen over an eight-hour-period, but when Lemon finally did check on them, that person was unconscious with dangerously low oxygen levels.

At that point, emergency responders were called. The patient was taken to the hospital, where they were diagnosed with an hypoxic brain injury due to the prolonged deprivation of oxygen.

The death was first reported to the Justice Center as an administrative death. It turned into a criminal investigation when the Vulnerable Persons Central Register Hotline, or VPCR, took a call that the staff member had been sleeping while tasked with the now-deceased's care.

Lemon was arraigned in the Town of DeWitt Court, and sent to the Onondaga County Justice Center on $15,000 bail.

She is due back in court late Monday afternoon.

The Justice Center and DeWitt Police conducted the investigation.

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