The victim’s mother claims that Yale-New Haven Hospital staff ignored her 23-year-old-son, who’d been transported to the facility after accidentally ingesting a substance he believed may have been fentanyl.
The mother of a 23-year-old man who died in a Connecticut hospital has filed a lawsuit against the facility, alleging that her son’s death was caused by negligent staff.
According to NBC News, William Miller died after being left unattended in a Yale New Haven Hospital ambulance bay.
Miller was purportedly placed on a stretcher, then “ignored by […] medical staff for a period of seven hours.”
Miller, says NBC News, had been taken to the hospital on May 10, 2021, after ingesting a white powder-like substance he suspected “had been laced with fentanyl.”
When ambulance personnel arrived to Miller’s location, they found that he was already being treated by firefighters from the East Haven Fire Department, who had administered 3 milligrams of naloxone to counteract the suspected fentanyl.
While first responders determined that Miller was stable and with normal vitals, they recommended that he be transported to Yale New Haven Hospital for further medical monitoring.
According to Miller’s mother, Tina Darnsteadt, Miller called her while he was in the ambulance and said that he was “feeling ok.”
After Miller arrived at the hospital, he was designated a “Level 2” patient under the Emergency Severity Index, due to the “well-known risk of toxicity recurrence in cases involving the unintentional ingestion of Fentanyl.”
However, once Miller’s triage was completed, his medical record went “silent” for seven hours.
“Mr. Miller received no medical attention whatsoever for this seven-hour period,” the lawsuit states.
Surveillance camera footage from the hospital shows Miller behaving normally for several hours, using the bathroom, retrieving snacks from a vending machine, and talking on his cell phone.
However, Miller later appeared to fall asleep in the stretcher.
For hours, nobody checked on Miller’s physical health or well-being, despite numerous medical staff passing his location.
When a nurse eventually checked his pulse in the early hours of May 11, Miller was non-responsive and did not have a noticeable 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 recounts.
Miller was transferred to critical care but never recovered.
“The Yale Defendants were negligent in that they failed to exercise the degree of care, skill and diligence required under similar circumstances,” the lawsuit claims, asserting that the emergency department and its staff failed to “maintain and/or follow adequate protocols and procedures requiring reevaluation of patients in the emergency department in a timely manner.”
The lawsuit suggests that, as a result of the alleged negligence, Miller “suffered the premature total loss of the enjoyment of all of his life’s activities.”
NBC News reports that Yale New Haven Hospital has said that it is “aware of this lawsuit and is committed to providing the safest and highest quality of care possible.”
“However, even in the best organizations gaps in care may occur,” the hospital said in a statement. “When they do, our goal is to acknowledge them, learn from them, and ensure that we minimize any chance that they ever occur again.”
“We have offered our sincerest apologies to the family of the patient and are working towards a resolution.”