St. Louis Today recently discussed the tragic suffocation death of a sixteen year old girl at the SSM DePaul Health Center. As the newspaper uncovered, the death was only one of a string of error-riddled incidents at the hospital over the last several years.
Alexis Evette was a foster child at the facility who had an emotional fit and began hitting, biting, and scratching staff members at the hospital. In an attempt to restrain her, two aides grabbed Alexis’s arms and held her face down into a bean bag while a nurse injected what was supposed to be a calming sedative. Alexis continued to scream and kick for a short while after the injection before eventually going limp.
After she stopped moving, the aides all left the room without checking on her in any way. It wasn’t until another ten to twelve minutes that another nurse saw Alexis, noticed that she clearly looked askew, and rushed into the room to check on her. The nurse discovered that Alexis was not breathing and only had a faint pulse. There was nothing that could be done, however, and Alexis died shortly after. The medical examiner ruled the incident a homicide, noting that the girl suffocated to death in the bean bag where she was held face down.
The improper restraint that killed Alexis is unfortunately an too-common occurrence. Our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Levin & Perconti have witnessed similar forceful conduct with troubled patients at hospitals, leading to serious injuries and death. Obviously, it is imperative that aides at these facilities understand that patients not be held down in a way that constricts their breathing. Besides that, it is a basic staple of care that a patient be checked after being given a sedative. There is simply no excuse for the complete lack of concern with Alexis’s care that led to her death.
The abuse of Alexis was just the latest in a string of problems that SMM DePaul. Investigators were already looking into an incident where a urologist at the facility removed the wrong kidney of one patient. Besides that, there are 28 other reports of inadequate medical care and complete disorganization at the facility from other wrong-site surgeries to baby abductions.
The continuing errors at the hospital are enough to shock any patient. Yet, authorities remain unclear on whether they will seek to close the facility or impose other sanctions. The inaction of state officials makes it all the more important for patients themselves to hold abusive and dangerous hospitals accountable.
Please Click Here to read more about the extent of the dangerous medical errors at this single hospital.