On September 21, 2011, a 29-year-old homeless woman in St. Louis, Missouri went to a hospital emergency room complaining of severe pain in her legs. The emergency room staff asked her to leave the emergency room even though the woman was complaining that her leg pain was so severe that she could not walk. The woman demanded further medical care to address her serious medical complaints. The emergency room staff responded by calling the police to have the woman physically removed from the emergency room. The police came to the emergency department and arrested the homeless woman for trespassing, transporting her to jail.
A short time later, the mother of two minor children was found dead on the floor of her jail cell. It was later determined that the woman had life-threatening deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in her legs) that traveled to her lungs and caused her death.
The woman’s mother filed a medical malpractice/wrongful death case on November 20, 2012 on behalf of the woman’s surviving two minor children against the hospital from which she was transported to jail as well as another hospital that earlier had examined and released the woman without diagnosing and treating her serious medical condition and several physicians involved with her treatment (or lack of treatment).
The medical malpractice lawsuit also alleges that the hospital is responsible for false arrest and false imprisonment, causing the woman to suffer “humiliation, mental anguish, restraint of her freedom and hastened her into an agonizing and frightening death.” In a surveillance video related to the incident, a police officer allegedly could be heard telling a local fire chief that the hospital believed that the woman was a “drug seeker” when she was in the hospital’s emergency room.
The president of the hospital issued a statement in which she stated, “We are reviewing the petition at this time and are unable to comment on the lawsuit. We believe the care provided by our doctors, nurses and hospital staff was appropriate. Our hearts and prayers continue to be with the family.”
“Our hearts and prayers continue to be with the family.” If the allegations stated in the medical malpractice/wrongful death lawsuit are proven to be true, then this ironic and flippant statement of compassion for the woman’s 3-year-old and 12-year-old children who are left without a mother is a slap in their faces and an affront to the memory of their mother. Where was the hospital’s compassion when the woman was complaining that her leg pain was so bad that she could not walk? Where was the sympathy when the police were called to physically remove the woman from the emergency room and she was hauled away to jail? What did the hospital do to relieve the woman’s pain and save her life?
If you or a family member may be the victim of emergency room malpractice, you should promptly seek the advice of a local medical malpractice attorney who may be willing to investigate your possible medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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