Dumped Patient's Lawyer: The Hospital 'Left My Client To Die'
BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — The video sparked outrage across the country. Thursday, the fallout continued.
Last week, it appears that a Baltimore hospital dumped a patient at a bus stop, leaving her to fend for herself in the freezing cold. Thursday, that woman's attorney spoke out.
WJZ's Rick Ritter reports the family is being represented by J. Wyndal Gordon, who says 22-year-old Rebecca was left outside virtually naked, and that hypothermia could have easily claimed her life.
He also says she was having a psychotic episode when the University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus turned its back on her.
Cheryl Chandler said she was only made aware of her missing 22-year-old daughter's predicament on the night of Jan. 9 when she happened upon a viral video shot by a passerby who was enraged the way she was treated.
As a video shot by concerned passerby Imamu Baraka shows, Rebecca was barely able to stand or speak after security guards at UMMC left her at a bus stop in only her hospital gown and socks.
The footage Baraka took has been viewed millions of times since it was posted Jan. 10.
At a Thursday press conference held at a lawyer's office, Chandler described her daughter as a beloved young woman who has been struggling intensely with mental illness since she was 16. Over the past year-and-a-half, she has cycled through a couple of residential facilities for mentally ill clients.
She said Rebecca, who has health insurance, was "denied her right by law to receive the clinical care" that the CEO of the University of Maryland Medical Center has publicly claimed she received that night.
Baraka, who's being hailed as Rebecca's savior, told WJZ he was floored by what he witnessed.
"Are you kidding me?" he said. "Are you kidding me?"
The hospital has admitted it failed completely, but has yet to announce any disciplinary action that might be taken against the staff involved in the incident.
Now the family is seeking justice, hoping to spark change.
"We can use this to bring about change, or we can do what we normally do," Baraka says. "It's the topic of the moment and then we go back to our dysfunctional norms."
Gordon spoke out on behalf of the family in a press conference Thursday.
When she was being filmed, they say, she couldn't respond to the frigid temperatures and physical trauma.
"I originally thought that she wad dead," Baraka says. "Because when they were wheeling her out, her leg fell off of the wheelchair's footrest."
At Thursday's press conference, Gordon said that could have easily become the reality.
"The University of MD Medical Center Midtown Campus left my client to die," he said.
Dr. Mohan Suntha, president and CEO of University of Maryland Medical Center, told reporters last week there were no excuses for what happened to the young woman. But he stood by her medical care, saying she received treatment and was discharged.
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