WTF News: Man Sat Dead In Hospital Lobby For Hours…And No One Noticed

September 22, 2012  |  

delewareonline.com

This is exactly why people don’t go to the hospital: they’re afraid they won’t come out alive.

The family of Melvin Dillard has filed a lawsuit against the company that operates Beebe Medical Center’s emergency room in Delaware after Dillard died in the hospital’s lobby in June without anyone noticing him there.  By the time someone took notice, rigor motis – the stiffness of muscles after death – had begun to set in.

The claim states that Dillard called an ambulance the day before he passed away with chest pains. Even though he had a history of cardiac issues, the emergency room decided he was well enough to be discharged. He died in the waiting room while possibly trying to figure out a way back home after a friend was unable to get him.  The claim states that only then was Dillard rushed back into the emergency room where he was pronounced dead.

Dillard’s family states that because the emergency staff was made aware of his prior health problems, he should have been admitted for further testing and not sent home.  To that end, they are suing Beebe and Sussex Associates for medical negligence and wrongful death, while also seeking an undisclosed amount in damages.

Hospital officials released a statement saying Dillard had been seen and after medical staff had followed proper protocol, he was released in “stable condition.”  Further, hospital representative Kelly Griffin says the incident was fully disclosed to oversight authorities and investigated.

Part of the confusion stems from the fact that the EMS workers noted that when they got to Dillard, he was showing “signs of an impending cardiac event” and when they released him tot he hospital his EKG was abnormal. He died of a heart attack in the lobby.

His family has declined to comment, saying that the lawsuit speaks for itself.

What a very sad turn of events.  One has to wonder if  Mr. Dillard had “good” insurance.  There has long been talk that if you don’t have “proper” health insurance, hospitals will not treat you with the same care and respect as one with, let’s say, “top notch” health insurance.

Of course, no amount of money can bring Melvin Dillard back but his family deserves more clear answers.

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