The family of 38-year-old Melvin Dillard Jr. (pictured) is suing a Delaware hospital, after Dillard went to their emergency room for chest pains and was released. The problem? Dillard ended up dying of a heart attack while he was waiting for a ride home in the medical center’s lobby, reports the Cape Gazette.
According to the lawsuit, the 38-year-old man was taken to Beebe Medical Center on June 26th, after he was suffering from pronounced chest pains. The EMS workers observed that Dillard demonstrated all of the signs that point to an impending heart attack. The young man had an abnormal EKG as well.
After being examined by the hospital staff, though, Dillard was allegedly told to go home and seek the medical services of a cardiologist.
When Dillard went to the hospital lobby to wait for a ride home, he later died of a heart attack at some point during the night and his body was discovered in the hospital’s lobby by a worker.
Dillard was reportedly in the lobby so long that rigor mortis (the stiffening of the joints and muscles of a body after death) had already begun to set in, states the lawsuit.
Dillard was then transported back to the emergency room, where he was pronounced dead.
The lawsuit accuses Beebe Medical and Sussex Emergency Associates of negligence and wrongful death, with Dillard’s family members seeking damages. The family also claims that Dillard should have been admitted, kept for observation, and had his cardiac history considered as well.
The hospital released the following statement regarding the Dillard case:
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.
According to a major 2010 study, “Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare,” minorities in America — even those with private health insurance — receive lower-quality health care than Whites, contributing to higher death rates and shorter lifespans.
This translates in to minorities receiving less lifesaving heart medications, bypass surgery, dialysis, or kidney transplants. Minorities are also more likely to get their feet and legs amputated as a treatment for late-stage diabetes.
If Dillard’s family can indeed prove that Dillard was indeed neglected in their lawsuit, then the aforementioned statistics and reality of African Americans in this health care system will be underscored yet again and the hospital and its staff should receive the highest punishment and fines for their gross neglect.