Family Files Suit After Man Dies in E.R.

A Delaware man died in a hospital emergency room after he was discharged. His family says he wasn't discovered for hours.

Melvin Dillard Jr, called 911 to be taken to Beebe Medical Center on June 26 because the 38-year-old knew what chest pains and shortness of breath could mean.

But Dillard's family says the Lewes, Delaware hospital, that has treated him in the past for heart issues, discharged him six hours after his arrival.

Gil Shelsby, an attorney representing the Dillard family told NBC10, Dillard sat in the emergency room and waited for a ride. "While he was there, after he had been discharged from the hospital, he has a cardiac arrhythmia and he dies. And, unfortunatley he's not found until 11 o'clock the next day," said Shelsby.

Shelsby has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Dillard's family. The lawsuit alleges the hospital failed to adequately test or diagnose Dillard before his discharge.

"They actually attempted CPR but the early  records that we have, when they brought him back into the emergency room, is that he already had rigor mortis setting in," said Shelsby.

Shelsby said when Dillard's family was notified by Lewes Police, six hours later, there was grief and then a lot of questions.

"How can somebody in a hospital setting when we have all the ability to monitor what's going on in the waiting rooms, for security reasons, for safety reasons, how something like this happens?" said Shelsby.

A spokesperson for Beebe Medical Center declined an on camera interview. NBC10 did receive this statement, "A patient was seen, treated, following all protocols and was discharged in stable condition. While sleeping in the lobby waiting for a ride, the individual passed away. This was fully disclosed and investigated by state and federal agencies."

The hospital did not specify which agencies did the investigations and NBC10 was unable to independently verify those investigations or any results.


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