TRUCHAS, N.M. (KRQE) – A Truchas woman has been charged with battery on a healthcare worker after refusing to wear a mask in a medical center waiting area on Dec. 3. According to a criminal complaint, a police officer was called to La Familia Medical Center in Truchas after Joy Ebel allegedly verbally harassed healthcare workers and coughed into one of their faces.

Now, Ebel says she has never coughed on anyone intentionally and she does not have the coronavirus. She claims this all started because the health care workers at the clinic did not like how she was wearing her mask. “I did lift up my mask to breathe, from the bottom, because I have claustrophobia. I lifted it up,” Ebel says.

The complaint states after the third time hospital staff asked her to put a mask on, Ebel stood up, got nose to nose with a healthcare worker, and then coughed into the worker’s face. The worker is now working from home and does not have any symptoms. Officials say Ebel also coughed into a second healthcare worker’s face. Both workers were wearing PPE.

However, Ebel says all of that was a lie and that she had her mask on, but it was lifted to expose her mouth. Ebel also claims she is the victim and that the staff attacked her.

Ebel says the only time her mask came off was when she was getting ready to leave. “When I took my mask off, she acted like I pulled out an AK-47 and she started this crisis actress, some kind of rehearsed hysteria,” Ebel says.

KRQE News 13 tried calling La Familia, but no one was able to speak with us. However, according to the criminal complaint, multiple people within the building told police Ebel was “disorderly and refused to comply with the mask rules.”

Ebel has been charged with battery on a health care worker, which is a felony. She says she cannot afford jail time since she has a 16-year old daughter to take care of.

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