Janie Marshall broke the recommended six foot space between herself and patient Cassandra Lundy, 32, when she seized Lundy’s IV post to get her balance at Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center in Brooklyn on March 28.
A family member told CNN that Marshall had dementia.
Lundy was originally assigned a summons by the hospital police for unpleasant behavior, according to the Times, but after the medical examiner ruled Marshall’s death a homicide, Lundy was arrested and charged with manslaughter and assault on April 2, the NYPD said.
Lundy is facing charges of first and second-degree manslaughter, second-degree assault and felony murder, according to the Brooklyn District Attorney̵
CNN has not been able to identify a lawyer for Lundy.
In a statement to CNN, Woodhull Hospital said they are working with the NYPD for the investigation.
“We are very saddened by this death. We are committed to ensuring a safe, health-focused environment during these very demanding times so that our heroic healthcare professionals can continue to deliver the quality, compassionate care that New Yorkers need more than ever,” said hospital in a statement.
Antoinette Leonard-Jean Charles, Marshall’s grandmother, told CNN that Marshall had been admitted to the ER on March 27 after experiencing stomach pain related to intestinal obstruction. She said the hospital has not communicated with details of how Marshall died. Instead, she has relied on local news reports to get more information about the changes.
The hospital had cited HIPAA health law on why they couldn’t provide more information, despite her mother and Marshall’s niece, Eleanor Leonard, being listed as her close relative, Charles said.
The hospital told CNN that no further information could be released.
Although Charles only knows as much as there is in the police report, she speculated that because Marshall had dementia, she may not have understood her surroundings, so she wandered around and eventually ran into Lundy amidst the chaos of the ER that night.
Marshall, born in 1934 and the youngest of 12 children, was “one of the cutest, friendliest women you could ever meet,” Charles said. According to her death, Marshall worked for the Social Security Administration and was one of the first African American women to receive a Commissioner Citation, the agency’s highest award.
Marshall “never wanted to be someone’s victim,” she added, which was perhaps the most difficult part of learning about her death – that the family was not there and Marshall was ultimately a victim of the circumstances of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
As hospitals in New York and across the country struggle with growing coronavirus-related hospitalizations, Charles emphasized that violence in uncertain times will never change anything.
A fearful act can lead to serious, unintended consequences, she said.
“Violence will not change anything.”