Hit & Run Victim Dies After Family Says Hospital Released Him Too Soon
MIAMI (CBS4) - Flor Graham wept and clutched a photo of her husband, Miguel Rocafort, at their home in Southwest Miami-Dade Friday, the day after he died, possibly from injuries he received in a hit and run accident last Saturday.
His widow blames the hit and run driver, but also believes the hospital that treated him may have contributed to his death, by putting insurance coverage issues above her husband's care.
Rocafort, 51, a bicycling enthusiast of many decades, was hit by a driver who kept on going Saturday at 6:50 a.m. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue rushed the injured man to Kendall Regional Medical Center, that has a class II trauma center, rather than take him to other hospitals that were closer.
Rocafort's family told CBS4 News he suffered a broken neck in the form of a fractured vertebrae, a serious head injury, fluid on the brain, and a broken leg. Despite the extent of his injuries, the family says Kendall Regional attempted to discharge Rocafort on Monday, just two days after the accident.
"They told me the insurance was tightening up," said the wife, Flor Graham. "I told them he was too seriously injured to go home yet."
Graham, who is a medical assistant at Jackson Memorial Hospital, said Kendall Regional allowed her husband to remain one more day, releasing him Tuesday. Less than 36 hours later he would be dead.
"He wasn't well. It wasn't like it was a little hit, it was a terrible accident" said long-time friend and neighbor Rosa Pena. "I think they let him go too soon, way too soon."
Rocafort's widow agreed, saying her husband was in extreme pain even as he left the hospital Tuesday.
About 2 a.m. Thursday Rocafort's pain worsened and he developed difficulty breathing, then lost consciousness. His wife administered CPR. He was pronounced dead later at Baptist Medical Center in Homestead after being taken there by fire-rescue.
Kendall Regional Medical Center issued a one line statement Friday. Hospital spokesperson Peter Jude said, "The patient arrived at Kendall Regional Medical Center's Emergency Department, was admitted, cared for, and appropriately discharged".
The hospital did not address the widow's concerns that it put insurance coverage issues ahead of caring for her husband.
Miami-Dade traffic homicide investigators took over the hit and run case Thursday after Rocafort died, on the belief that his death may have resulted from the injuries he received in the hit and run accident.
"We are looking for help from the public," said MDPD Detective Aida Fina-Milian. "Anyone who may have seen anything or knows anything about this hit and run is asked to call police."
A report on the Saturday accident, that occurred on Southwest 137th Avenue just south of Eureka Drive, said the hit and run vehicle might have been a dark colored, four door Honda.
As she wondered if the hospital could have done more to save her husband, Flor Graham also appealed for the public's help in catching the hit and run driver. Her husband, a handsome, youthful looking man, was on his way to a group ride in Kendall when he was struck.
"He was a good and decent man," Graham said, weeping. "He was my life."
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