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Family Speaks out in Response to Cayuga Medical Center Death

February 15, 2017

Jeff D. DeFrancisco, Esq.
Telephone: 833-200-2000

Recently multiple articles have been published regarding the death of a patient in the waiting room of the Cayuga Medical Center. The 52 year old man is believed to have been left unattended for several hours in a waiting room until he was found deceased.

According to the decedent’s brother, "It is truly disheartening to be hearing about the tragic events that led to the loss of life of my brother. As our family struggles to come to terms with a life that was cut short by a death that never should have happened, our thoughts turn to what can be done to spare other families from such heartache." Given the sensitive nature of the case, the family does not want their identity disclosed at the present time.

In an article by the Ithaca Voice, it was reported that a triage nurse documented that the decedent’s vital signs were taken, however, according to hospital video footage there is no indication the vitals were actually taken. In another article, the Vice President of Hospital Affairs publicly stated he believed the triage nurse falsified her documentation. spoke to one of the nurses who stated she had never seen the hospital triage policy prior to the incident nor did she ever receive a "one on one" orientation per protocol. The article went on to say that another hospital policy is for the charge nurse to see patients before determining where the patient should go and that never happened. On February 9, 2017, reported that one hospital nurse is blaming management for the death because there was insufficient staffing when she said "We’ve been screaming somebody is going to die in our waiting room and they do nothing about it…" The Ithaca Journal reported, CEO John Rudd saying, the patient’s death occurred "as a result of a series of breakdowns" in procedure.

According to the decedent’s brother, "the family is very upset to learn about the many breakdowns that occurred. You have nurses publicly stating they told management that they were not adequately staffed nor were they trained on hospital procedures. At the same time you have management blaming a nurse for falsifying triage documentation and not following hospital procedures. Words cannot describe my family’s anger and frustration with everything we are learning. My brother was a caring person who loved life, and he will be deeply missed by our family. There will always be an emptiness in our hearts, and he will never be forgotten. Our number one concern is finding out what happened and making sure this horrific incident never happens to anyone else. My brother never should have had to die alone in a hospital waiting room."

According to Jeff DeFrancisco, Esq. "medical errors occur all the time. Unfortunately, the public rarely hears about them. If there is an internal medical investigation at a hospital, the findings are never disclosed to the public or even the person that was injured. Furthermore, if someone is involved in a medical malpractice case, a stipulation to any settlement is that the person and/or their family sign a confidentiality agreement. The end result is the public rarely hears about the true extent of medical errors that occur."

"The main concern for the family is ensuring that a thorough investigation is performed and that this tragedy never happens to anyone else. My office has already started an independent investigation on behalf of the family to ensure we learn the entire truth. Given the various ongoing investigations, the family has asked that any inquiries about this matter be directed to my office at the present time", said DeFrancisco.

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