Nurse pleads guilty in inmate's death, will serve 3 months

By: 
The Associated Press

TEXARKANA, Texas (AP) — A former nurse who refused medical treatment to a Texas jail inmate who later died has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor negligent homicide.

Brittany Danae Johnson, 27, was charged after 20-year-old Morgan Angerbauer died in July 2016 at the jail in Texarkana, a town along the Arkansas border. She will serve about three months jail.

An autopsy determined Angerbauer died of diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition that results from blood sugar reaching severely high levels.

Johnson's attorney, Jeff Harrelson, initially said she was willing to plead "no contest" to negligent homicide. But the judge declined to accept a plea other than guilty, the Texarkana Gazette reported . Johnson pleaded guilty on Monday.

Court records allege Angerbauer asked Johnson to check her blood sugar but Johnson refused, saying jail staff members were in charge of deciding when medical attention was needed. Angerbauer was found unconscious in her cell early the next morning.

A police affidavit states Johnson "admitted that she was fully aware of the severity of Angerbauer's medical diabetic situation, but rather than treat her, she told her that 'things don't work that way. If you miss your medical call, you have to wait until it's time for your next medical call.'"

One jail staff member testified that he told Johnson they should immediately call for emergency help, but that Johnson refused for more than a half hour. Angerbauer was dead by the time paramedics arrived.

"She was lying on the floor of her cell with no blanket in her own vomit," said Jennifer Houser, Angerbauer's mother, in a victim impact statement. "You refused to treat my child when you could have saved her."

Records with the Texas Nursing Board show Johnson's nursing license has been suspended.

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