In our last post about Barbara Dawson, the Florida woman who died after being forcibly removed from a hospital where she sought medical treatment, we wondered whether Calhoun Liberty Hospital would be sued for medical malpractice and charged with dumping under EMTALA law. The verdict is in, and it’s not pretty: while no lawsuits against Calhoun Liberty have been reported yet, the hospital has been cited by Florida’s AHCA (Agency for Health Care Administration) for 10 deficiencies and asked to draft a plan for addressing those issues. Here are more details about this tragic medical malpractice story.
According to a story in the Tallahassee Democrat, AHCA’s highly redacted, 79-page document detailed how “nursing staff failed to immediately notify the physician and conduct an assessment per hospital policy to address [Dawson’s] complaint.” The Democrat article goes on: “the report also said she was discharged with an ‘unstabilized emergency medical condition,’ despite having complained of shortness of breath. She was released without having the complaint documented, evaluated or treated.” Dawson lay in Calhoun Liberty’s parking lot for 18 minutes after collapsing while being escorted in handcuffs to a police car. She died from a blood clot in her lungs soon thereafter.
With the release of its report, AHCA demanded that Calhoun Liberty develop a comprehensive plan to address its deficiencies, which included critical failures in emergency room protocol and patient care. The plan needed to be submitted by February 19, 2016. If the deficiencies were not addressed by March 1, the hospital was in danger of suspension from the Medicaid program. Those dates have come and gone, and Calhoun Liberty still does not have a plan in place. Its first two attempts at a plan were rejected by AHCA, after Calhoun Liberty failed to submit all documents, including six month’s worth of emergency room charts reviewed by a licensed physician. For each day beyond March 1 that the plan is not finalized, the hospital will be fined $500.
This medical malpractice situation is developing, and our blog will continue to publish updates on the Barbara Dawson case and how justice is being served on her behalf.
As a Florida law firm intent on helping victims of hospital mistreatment, we’re satisfied with the strong action AHCA has taken against Calhoun Liberty Hospital. If you or someone you love has been treated poorly in a hospital or doctor’s office and suffered health issues as a result, please contact Orlando medical malpractice attorney Jeff Badgley at 407.781.0420 for a free, no obligation consultation.