Imagine being escorted from a hospital without receiving proper treatment, simply because you were trying to advocate for your own care. That is exactly what one North Carolina woman says happened to her son after he was put in a taxi in late 2011 after being deemed "uncooperative" and discharged against medical protocol. The woman is seeking financial compensation for wrongful death, negligence and emotional distress in connection with the incident. She says that her son was already dead when he arrived home from the hospital in the taxi. She is accusing security officers of forcing her son to leave the hospital before he had received the care he needed; the hospital itself is not party to this particular suit.
The man had been a patient at Cumberland County Hospital for a decade, as he suffered from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and was prone to frequent bouts of pneumonia. That type of lymphoma is a cancer that harms white blood cells. The man was admitted to the hospital on Nov. 21, 2011, after having been misdiagnosed with bacterial pneumonia earlier in the month. The hospital determined that the man was suffering from fungal pneumonia instead. Even though professionals at the hospital deemed that the man was cleared for discharge the next day, his mother says he was still weak and seriously ill.
Security officers escorted the man from his hospital bed to the waiting cab, as he had become uncooperative and decided not to move from his hospital room. He then became unresponsive. Even though hospital workers expressed concern that the man was suffering a serious medical event, security officers insisted on putting him in the taxi and sending him home. The taxi driver was even afraid that the man might have been dead. After a 45-minute trip, the victim arrived back home, cold to the touch and unresponsive.
No hospital patient should be forced into a taxi cab to be sent home if they are unresponsive and potentially dying. The security guards in this case were inhumane and acted unprofessionally. Such defendants should be subject to serious civil punishment, as their actions may have contributed to the fatal accident. Hospital patients do not deserve such an experience before death.
Source: Courthouse New Service, "Mom Says Security Put Dead Son in a Taxi" Iulia Filip, Dec. 13, 2013