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William “Billy” Miller was left alone in a hallway for seven hours — allegedly unattended and untreated — at Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he died last year at the age of 23.
Miller’s mother has filed a lawsuit in Superior Court, saying that the hospital staffers were negligent in their duties. “They untreated him to death,” Tina Darnsteadt explained.
While in an ambulance, a 23-year-old man called his mom, explained what had happened to him and said he was feeling OK, a lawsuit says.
Hours later, he was found dead at a Yale hospital.https://t.co/OXe3x9QiC5
— Connecticut Post (@connpost) August 18, 2022
According to both authorities and family members, Miller had initially been treated by firefighters after ingesting a white powder that he thought might have been laced with fentanyl. The East Haven Fire Department had responded to a call at 6:25 p.m. on May 10, 2021 from Peter’s Rock Association Park, and they were already treating Miller with naloxone (Narcan) — which is used to combat potential opioid overdoses — when an ambulance arrived.
The ambulance transported Miller to Yale-New Haven Hospital then — in spite of the fact that he was reportedly “walking, talking, and alert” at the time — because the effects of opioid toxicity can recur very quickly and they wanted to make sure he was under observation. He reportedly called his mother from the ambulance to tell her that he was all right. He arrived at the hospital at 7:13 p.m.
According to the lawsuit, from that point until 1:56 a.m., Miller was not evaluated by hospital staffers. Surveillance footage showed him getting up from the stretcher several times — to use the bathroom and to get something to eat — and using the phone, after which point he looked as though he had fallen asleep.
At 1:56 a.m., a nurse found Miller unresponsive and without a pulse, and according to the lawsuit, by then he had clearly “been in full cardiac arrest for an unknown period of time.”
“The next morning, we called the hospital for an update but we couldn’t get any details,” she said. “My last conversation with Billy he said everything was going to be OK and he would see me tomorrow but tomorrow has never come for us,” Darnsteadt said.
The family’s attorney, Sean McElligott, added, “This young man’s death was completely avoidable. The hospital failed to provide him with the most basic medical care. This should never happen. Billy’s death was tragic and his family and loved ones are devastated by the utter lack of care provided at the hospital. I will work hard to make sure nothing like this happens to another family.”
Hospital officials confirmed that they are aware of the lawsuit, adding, “Even in the best organizations gaps in care may occur. When they do, our goal is to acknowledge them, learn from them, and ensure that we minimize any chance that they ever occur again.”