The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Montour County

June 3, 2014

Nurse may have been exposed to disease

DANVILLE – A Geisinger Medical Center licensed practice nurse testified she constantly worries if she contracted a communicable disease from a patient who pulled out her intravenous and threw it at her.

Diane Walker said she underwent tests after the incident May 6 involving Karvel Ann Swaby, 38, of Williamsport, but has to be re-tested in six months.

“You never can completely relax,” she said during Swaby’s preliminary hearing Monday on two felonies of aggravated assault, two misdemeanors of simple assault attempt and simple assault attempt by menace, a misdemeanor of recklessly endangering another person and a summary offense of harassment.

Montour County District Attorney Rebecca Warren said she couldn’t disclose the communicable disease Swaby has but said the disease is transmitted by blood.

After Montour County District Judge Marvin Shrawder held Swaby’s case for court, she was returned to the Northumberland County Prison in lieu of $50,000 straight bail.

Walker testified Swaby was in Geisinger’s emergency department because of a headache with doctors planning to check her spinal fluid.

She said she and two other nurses were responsible for eight other patients and there also was a patient in ambulance, a patient reacting to a blood transfusion and a pediatric patient. “I was very busy,” she said, adding she told Swaby she had other patients with more severe cases.

After Swaby, represented by Attorney Laurie Pickle, started yelling, a doctor asked Walker to see what was going on. “I let her know I would be right back. She said she wanted the IV out now,” Walker said of Swaby who was using her call bell off and on and yelling from her room when she saw someone in the hall. “She started to take the IV out. I said no stop I’ll take it out,” said Walker who was aware the woman had a communicable disease. “She said she was tired of waiting and started to pull it out of her left arm,” Walker said.

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