ITHACA, N.Y. — A Syracuse-area attorney has launched an investigation into the death of a man who died in the emergency room waiting area at Cayuga Medical Center in January.
Attorney Jeff D. DeFrancisco said he launched an investigation into the man’s death on behalf of the man’s family members.
“Based on information that has come out so far, it seems like there was medical negligence here. But we need to finish our initial investigation to make a final determination,” DeFrancisco said.
According to Cayuga Medical Center officials, a nurse falsified reports that she took the man’s vital signs and failed to check on him while he was in the waiting room for more than two hours, where he died on Jan. 19.
A request for comment from the nurse allegedly involved in the incident — which was made through a third-party who allegedly knows the woman — has gone unanswered, though reports and hospital officials indicate that she denies the accusations against her.
In addition to the internal investigation of the incident by the hospital, the death was reported to the Department of Health and the Office of Professional Discipline, an investigative arm for nursing licensing.
DeFrancisco said he could not comment on the details of his own investigation, but said, “We have learned some new details, let’s put it that way.”
In an initial news release about the investigation, DeFrancisco said the following:
According to the decedent’s brother, “the family is very upset to learn about the many breakdowns that occurred. You have nurses publicly stating they told management that they were not adequately staffed nor were they trained on hospital procedures. At the same time you have management blaming a nurse for falsifying triage documentation and not following hospital procedures. Words cannot describe my family’s anger and frustration with everything we are learning. My brother was a caring person who loved life, and he will be deeply missed by our family. There will always be an emptiness in our hearts, and he will never be forgotten. Our number one concern is finding out what happened and making sure this horrific incident never happens to anyone else. My brother never should have had to die alone in a hospital waiting room.”
He said the deceased man died without a will and an administrator has to be appointed on his behalf to possibly pursue legal action. He said the appointment of one of his family members as an administrator is ongoing and should be formalized within a few weeks.
In the mean time, he said he has asked hospital officials to preserve unedited surveillance videos from the night the man died, which he said the hospital has agreed to do.
The Ithaca Voice is still wanting to speak to the nurse involved in this incident. Please contact The Ithaca Voice at firstname.lastname@example.org.