46-year-old Joseph Wheeler was in a car crash back in June 2010. He was flown to Prince George’s Hospital complaining of The doctors told him he might have suffered a concussion, so they wanted to admit him for observation.
The next morning when he asked for breakfast, he was told he couldn’t have any food, because he was scheduled for surgery. To remove a cancerous mass in his chest. And the name on his bracelet was for a 33-year-old woman.
Understandably confused and concerned, Wheeler started working on leaving the hospital. It went downhill from there. Way downhill.
Wheeler claims he was assaulted, cursed at, and kept from leaving the hospital by the hospital’s contracted security staff. He was eventually able to leave the hospital for another one, where he was diagnosed with four broken ribs. a sprained shoulder, a ruptured spleen, and a concussion. The lawsuit Wheeler has filed against security officers William Reese, Donovan Scott, Dwayne Williams and an unnamed lieutenant. as well as Broadway Services (the security contractor) and Dimensions Health Corporation (Prince George’s Hospital operator) alleges Assault and Battery ($4.5 million); False Imprisonment ($4.5 million); Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress ($3.5 million); Loss of Consortium ($200,000) and Respondeat Superior ($3.5 million).
Seems like it would have been better to check his ID bracelet once or twice more in the ER, no?
The alleged comments and actions from the security staff during the three-hour incident are troubling as well. Security staff who act like this don’t even deserve the derisive term “rent-a-cop.” There are thousands of people across the country who work diligently and carefully in the security profession, and treat most people they meet with respect. There’s no reason to man-handle a patient on a medical floor of a hospital.
And once you’ve realized you’ve screwed up, don’t try to hide what you’ve done. Accept that your people screwed up, figure out how to mitigate the damage, learn from the incident, and move on. The Lieutenant probably caused as much legal damage as his subordinates. Someone in that position needs to be aware of legal responsibilities, not try and remove possible evidence of wrong-doing.
This will be an expensive lesson to Dimensions Health Corporation and Broadway Services. Other organizations should follow the case closely, and try to learn the lessons more frugally.