The New York wrongful death lawyers representing the family of a patient who died last summer at Kings County Hospital settled their wrongful death lawsuit against New York City for $2 million, The New York Times reports.
The patient, Esmin Elizabeth Green, was brought to the Kings County Hospital’s psychiatric emergency room on the morning of June 18, 2008, after she had an anxiety attack. Ms. Green waited in the emergency room for nearly 24 hours with no attention from a doctor or other hospital staff. Early the next day, she fell out of her chair and lay on the floor for about an hour before staff gave her any meaningful assistance.
By then Ms. Green had stopped breathing and all doctors could do was try, unsuccessfully, to resuscitate her.
The negligence of the hospital is breathtaking. Security videos released to the family’s New York wrongful death lawyers during the suit showed multiple hospital personnel taking note of Ms. Green’s condition and doing nothing. At one point a staff member prods Ms. Green with her foot before walking away.
To its credit, the hospital took swift action after Ms. Green’s death. It fired the director of psychiatry, the doctor on duty and the head of security. It changed its emergency room protocols to reduce patients’ waits and make hospital staff more accountable for their actions.
While these actions may prevent further incidents, they provide little solace for Ms. Green’s six children. Unfortunately, New York’s inadequate wrongful death laws make no provision for a family’s pain and suffering – the family’s $2 million settlement represents only pecuniary (financial) loss. If Ms. Green had been a child or a retired person, her family could well have received nothing.
There is a criminal investigation of the hospital’s actions underway. The Green family has said they hope to get closure from its outcome. We hope they do.