Friday, March 30, 2012

Mom dies after neglect from hospitals

Anna BrownThis story is SURREAL A woman, Anna Brown, went to several emergency rooms in the Saint Louis area complaining of leg pain seeking treatment for what she thought was a sprained ankle. At the third hospital she sought treatment at, police officers arrested her because she refused to leave. A doctor did state she was "fit for confinement" So the police transported her to jail.

The 29 year old Anna has Medicaid. (Minnesota Medicaid does cover Emergency Visits- see this link). She died 15 minutes after physically being carried by officers into her jail cell and placed on the floor. If you watch the video, it actually looks like her right leg was bent. She died in agony.

The spokesperson at St. Mary's said that “Unfortunately, even with appropriate testing using sophisticated technology, blood clots can still be undetected in a small number of cases.” I am interested in knowing what tests they did to rule out DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis which did lead to the pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung) that caused her death.

According to information found on Medline, health care providers typically perform a physical exam. The exam may show a red, swollen, or tender leg. Tests such as a Doppler ultrasound exam of the legs, Plethysmography (measurement of blood flow) of the legs or X-rays to show veins in the affected area(venography)may be done. Blood tests may be done to check if there is increased chance of blood clotting (hypercoagulability).

According to information found on,symptoms may be in the foot, ankle and calf, or involve the whole leg. They occur not just for a few seconds or minutes, but for hours or days. The classic symptoms of an acute DVT are:
•Discoloration (bluish, slightly purplish or reddish)

That may the reason she felt that her ankle was sprained.

The hospital spokesperson also said "The sad reality is that emergency departments across the country are often a place of last resort for many people in our society who suffer from complex social problems that become medical issues when they are not addressed. It is unfortunate that it takes a tragic event like this to call attention to a crisis in our midst.”

She had ultrasounds in both legs that were negative. But how can that be?

Here is the video from the ER lobby, the arrest, and her death.

A comment from one police man to the other at the end said that the hospital thought she was drug seeking and that she didn't have any problems.

The family has hired a lawyer, although not filed a lawsuit as of today.

A Michigan attorney experienced in malpractice, Stephen Fosmire, says Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services "must have seen there was enough … medical testing to satisfy the federal law," Fosmire said. Federal law does not require accurate treatment, he noted.


  1. Somehow the words missing from this story are humane, caring and doing the right thing. She deserved better than to be disregarded as insignificant to her healthcare providers. Sadder even still, is that it is probably still going on to some poor person today.

  2. Agree. They should have used their observation beds to monitor her instead of dismissing her. Jailing someone because they won't leave the hospital without proper medical attention to an acute situation should be a crime. In fact, I think it's called an "unsafe discharge".

    Over 300,000 people die each year from DVT, more than breast cancer and AIDS combined (March is DVT awareness month).

    Many people aren't fortunate to get to a health care provider on time. Anna got there in time and had she been given the proper treatment she would be alive today.