On December 21, 2015, a 57-year-old Florida woman went to the local hospital emergency room, complaining of abdominal pain. When the hospital staff attempted to discharge her from the ER, she complained that she was having trouble breathing. Instead of evaluating the woman’s breathing complaint, the hospital called the local police to have her removed from the ER. The police arrived and arrested the woman for trespassing and disorderly conduct.
As the police led the woman from the ER to the police vehicle, she collapsed. She died the following day due to a pulmonary embolism that the hospital failed to diagnose.
A police dashcam reportedly discredits the formal police department claim that its officers promptly sought help for the woman when it became apparent that she needed medical assistance. The dashcam video reportedly shows the woman collapsing only one to two feet from the police car, where she fell to the ground. A police officer reportedly is heard on the video accusing the woman of “faking it” and telling the woman that she was going to jail. The police officer and nurses spent eighteen minutes attempting to move the woman from her propped up position against the police car to inside the police vehicle.
The video reportedly shows the nurses checking the woman’s pulse but making no other effort to respond to the woman’s condition. It was only after a physician from the hospital came outside to the police car, after almost twenty minutes, that a decision was made to bring the woman back into the hospital to further evaluate the woman’s medical condition.
In responding to media coverage that was critical of the police actions following the woman’s death, the police department released records to the media that indicated that the woman had encounters with the staff at the hospital in 2006, 2012, and 2013, during which the police were called to the hospital to mediate between the hospital staff and the woman.
Whatever the interactions may have been between the hospital and the woman in the past, it is clear that the woman desperately need medical care addressing her breathing difficulty when she was being discharged from the ER on December 21, 2015. The hospital appears to be attempting to deflect its potential responsibility for the lack of medical care provided to the woman last December by alleging that her pulmonary embolism discovered during the autopsy is “difficult to detect and can be impossible to treat.” However, if appropriate efforts were not timely made by the hospital’s ER staff to diagnose the cause of the woman’s complaint of difficulty breathing, then the excuse that it would be difficult to diagnose the woman’s pulmonary embolism is moot because no effort was made – who knows for sure if the woman would be alive today had the hospital taken the woman’s breathing complaint seriously and had taken timely and appropriate steps to help the woman.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury (or worse) due to hospital malpractice in Florida or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a hospital malpractice lawyer in Florida or a hospital malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your emergency room malpractice claim for you and represent you in a hospital medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.