Family Sues Hospital After Man Dies in ER Lobby

A Delaware family is suing a local hospital after they say hospital staff released a man who later died of a heart attack in the Emergency Room lobby.

By David Chang
|  Friday, Sep 21, 2012  |  Updated 2:50 PM EDT
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Man Released From Hospital Dies in ER Lobby

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According to the suit, the hospital staff told the man he could go home and to follow up with his cardiologist. The man's body was later found in an Emergency Room lobby chair.

A family is suing a Delaware hospital after they say hospital staff released a man who later died of a heart attack in the Emergency Room lobby.

The lawsuit claims Melvin Dillard Jr., 38, of Newark, was taken to Beebe Medical Center back on June 26 after suffering chest pains, according to Delaware Online. Delaware Online reports the EMS unit observed Dillard showed signs “consistent with an impending cardiac event,” according to the lawsuit. The suit also claims Dillard had an abnormal EKG.

According to the suit, the hospital staff told Dillard he could go home and to follow up with his cardiologist. Dillard went to the lobby to wait for a ride home. He later died of a heart attack sometime between the night of June 26 and the morning of June 27, according to Delaware Online. Dillard’s body was found in a lobby chair by hospital staff and was there for so long that rigor mortis had set in, according to Delaware Online. The lawsuit claims he was then rushed back into the Emergency Room where he was pronounced dead.

Dillard’s family filed a lawsuit against Beebe Medical and Sussex Emergency Associates, accusing them of negligence and wrongful death while seeking damages.

The suit claims that Dillard should have been admitted for observation instead of being sent away due to his symptoms and history of cardiac issues.

The Hospital released the following statement:

A patient came into the Beebe Medical Center emergency department and was seen, treated appropriately following all protocols, and was discharged in stable condition. While sleeping in the lobby waiting for a ride, the individual passed away. In keeping with Beebe's internal policies, this was fully disclosed and investigated by state and federal agencies having oversight authority.

The Dillard family attorney did not comment.
 

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