| News

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Nurse charged with endangerment in Fayette County infant's death

About Liz Zemba
Picture Liz Zemba 412-601-2166
Staff Reporter

Daily Photo Galleries

By Liz Zemba

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 8:24 p.m.

A Fayette County woman who was caring for a premature infant when the boy died was held for trial on a child endangerment charge during a preliminary hearing on Wednesday.

Jackie Yeagley, 42, of 565 Rankin Airshaft Road, North Union, was caring for 7-month-old Derek Miskanin Jr. in the infant's home on Bute Road. On Dec. 4, 2010, the boy began to experience breathing problems, according to a criminal complaint filed by state police at Uniontown.

Yeagley was a nurse working for the Pediatrics Services of America agency at the time.

Police said Derek was on a ventilator and required constant bedside care. Although multiple alarms sounded when the boy first had trouble breathing, Yeagley failed to act, police said.

During the nearly four-hour long hearing before North Union District Judge Wendy Dennis, the infant's father, Derek Miskanin Sr., testified that Yeagley was caring for his son overnight. The father testified he was awakened by another family member, who told him the boy was not breathing.

Miskanin said he ran to Derek's upstairs bedroom, where he noticed his son's breathing tube was disconnected from his ventilator, and Yeagley was administering CPR.

“He was blue as I've ever seen anybody,” Miskanin testified. “I've never encountered that image before.”

Derek's mother, Montana Fisher, testified that Yeagley was giving the baby CPR in his crib. Fisher said she was concerned because she had been trained to lay the infant on a flat surface if CPR were necessary. Fisher testified she immediately took over, placed Derek on the floor and started CPR.

Cheryl Needham, a clinical-education manager with the company that manufactured the ventilator, Phillips Respironics, testified that a printout from the ventilator showed multiple alarms occurred between just after 11 p.m. and 12:27 a.m.

In some instances, an “audio pause” or reset button was pressed to briefly silence the alarm, Needham testified.

Yeagley's attorney, Christopher Capozzi of Pittsburgh, pointed out that long periods of time elapsed between some of the resets, indicating a problem was resolved. He said Yeagley performed CPR and notified the parents and grandparents that she needed help.

“What occurred to Derek Miskanin is a tragedy,” Capozzi said. “But there is simply not enough evidence of a crime to send this on to the Court of Common Pleas.”

District Attorney Jack Heneks said the ventilator's multiple alarms indicate that Yeagley was not properly tending to Derek's needs.

“Derek Miskanin was suffering an interruption in the flow of oxygen that he needed to sustain life,” Heneks said, alleging that Yeagley ignored the alarms by silencing them until it was too late.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or




Show commenting policy

Most-Read Fayette

  1. Fayette County candy stores say public sweet on jelly beans as well as chocolate
  2. Celebrate National Library Month with sweet contest in Connellsville
  3. Attorney says Fayette County officials’ policy on recording goes against state law
  4. Connellsville not yet worried about possible CDBG cuts
  5. Brush fire season keeps Fayette firefighters busy
  6. Connellsville’s new curfew —with stiffer penalties — to begin on April 26
  7. Fayette to set rules for public comment
  8. Cause of Mill Run turbine collapse still being investigated
  9. No date set for closing on proposed hotel property in Connellsville
  10. Police department to cover community
  11. ‘Star Wars’ forever changes artist’s life
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.