Man died after being left unattended at Connecticut hospital for 7 hours, his mother’s lawsuit alleges

The mother of a 23-year-old man who died at a Connecticut hospital last year has filed a lawsuit against the facility, alleging his death was caused by workers’ negligence after he was unattended for hours.

According to the lawsuit, William Miller died after being left alone on a gurney at Yale New Haven Hospital and “ignored by … medical staff for a period of seven hours.”

He had been taken to the hospital on the evening of May 10, 2021, after ingesting a white powder that he suspected “had been laced with fentanyl,” according to the lawsuit.

An ambulance had responded to a call from Peter’s Rock Association Park in East Haven around 6:25 p.m. that day, according to the lawsuit. Upon arrival, ambulance personnel found that Miller was already being treated by firefighters from the East Haven Fire Department, who administered 3 milligrams of naloxone, partially by nasal spray, to stop the toxicity of the fentanyl, he said.

At the time, the lawsuit said Miller was “walking, talking and alert.”

Ambulance personnel determined he was stable with a normal respiratory rate, but took him to Yale New Haven’s emergency department for medical follow-up to prevent recurrence of the toxicity, according to the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, Miller had contacted his mother, Tina Darnsteadt, saying he was in the ambulance “and feeling fine.”

He arrived at Yale New Haven around 7:13 p.m. “without incident or difficulty,” the lawsuit said, and was placed on a stretcher located in the emergency department’s ambulance bay.

Miller was tested by a nurse around 7:15 p.m. while in the ambulance bay, with medical records indicating he was suffering from probable fentanyl toxicity.

Although his vital signs were normal, Miller was designated a “Level 2” patient under the Emergency Severity Index, a 5-level triage indicator ranging from 1, the most urgent, to at 5, the least urgent, because of the “well-known risk of recurrence of toxicity in cases involving the unintentional ingestion of fentanyl,” the lawsuit said.

After the triage was completed, Miller’s medical record was “silent” for seven hours, the suit says. “Mr. Miller did not receive any medical attention during that seven-hour period,” it stated.

Surveillance showed Miller getting up from his bunk to use the bathroom, as well as grab a snack from the vending machine, according to the lawsuit. It also shows him talking on a cell phone, with the lawsuit saying he was talking to his mother, who “thought he was safe at the hospital.”

But later, the lawsuit said, Miller can be seen appearing to fall asleep on surveillance video. He said no one seemed to check on him during the hours his medical record went silent, despite “many medical providers” walking by his side while he appeared to be asleep.

At 1:56 a.m. on May 11, the lawsuit alleges, a nurse checked on Miller for the first time in seven hours, only to find that he was “no pulse.”

“He is not breathing. His skin is a blue-gray color. His pupils are fixed and dilated. He has been in full cardiac arrest for an unknown period of time,” the lawsuit states.

Subsequent labs and imaging showed “severe anoxic brain injury secondary to prolonged lack of oxygen from cardiopulmonary arrest,” the lawsuit said.

Miller was taken to intensive care, but never regained significant brain activity and was officially pronounced dead the next day, according to the lawsuit.

“The Yale defendants were negligent in that they failed to exercise the degree of care, skill and diligence required in similar circumstances,” he said.

The lawsuit alleged that the emergency department and the workers involved failed to “maintain and/or follow appropriate protocols and procedures that require the reevaluation of patients in the emergency department in a timely manner,” failed to reevaluate Miller in a timely manner timely, they did not administer the required doses. of naloxone to him in a timely manner and did not provide treatment or evaluation to Miller during his time in her care.

As a result of this alleged negligence, the lawsuit said, she “suffered the premature total loss of enjoyment of all her life’s activities.”

In a statement, Yale New Haven Hospital said it was “aware of this lawsuit and is committed to providing the safest and highest quality care possible.”

“However, even in the best organizations, gaps in care can occur,” he said. “When they do, our goal is to recognize them, learn from them and make sure we minimize any chance of them happening again.”

“We have offered our sincere apologies to the patient’s family and are working towards a solution,” the hospital said.

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