A North Carolina woman says hospital security guards sent her son home in a taxi because he was “uncooperative” and “refusing to talk,” although he was dying or already dead.
A’Darrin Washington of Fayetteville died on Nov. 22, 2011, after he was discharged from Cumberland County Hospital.
His mother, Deborah Washington, filed suit against the hospital’s security provider, AlliedBarton Security Services, for loading her weak son, a lymphoma patient, into a taxi despite the expressed concern of at least two members of the hospital staff, Courthouse News Service reported.
A’Darrin suffered from a form of cancer known as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and had been a patient at the hospital for 10 years, the suit says.
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He was admitted on Nov. 14 for pneumonia. After being treated for bacterial pneumonia for several days, tests showed that A’Darrin’s pneumonia was actually fungal. He had received the wrong medication for several days and his condition had deteriorated.
When doctors gave him the first dose of the correct medication on Nov. 21, they declared A’Darrin’s condition stable and prepared him for discharge.
A nurse, who is not a party to the suit, called for a security escort for A’Darrin because he was being “uncooperative.”
"(A) nurse called for security to escort Mr. Washington from his hospital bed to the lobby for discharge because Mr. Washington was allegedly 'uncooperative' and 'refusing to talk or move,'" the complaint states.
"Mr. Washington was unresponsive due to the fact that he was dying,” it says.
Two security officers took him to the lobby of the hospital, carried him out of his wheelchair, put him in a taxi, and strapped him in with a seatbelt. At least two members of the hospital staff allegedly expressed their concern, but A’Darrin was still sent away.
He was unconscious during the 45-minute ride home. When he arrived, his mother and family found him "unresponsive and cold to the touch.”
Authorities were called and A’Darrin's body was allegedly left in the taxi in the front yard for four hours while police investigated.
His mother is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for negligence, wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
This isn't the first time AlliedBarton Security has been in the headlines. An AlliedBarton security guard in Philadelphia was arrested for the shooting of a 21-year-old woman at an elevation subway station on Nov. 22. Caught on camera, police say, a gun inside the guard’s bag fired and a bullet hit the metal bench where the girl was sitting. Shrapnel hit the woman, Shirley Williams, in the face and arm.
"I was sitting there, all I heard was a 'boom' and my face started bleeding," Williams said.
The guard, who has not been named, stands there calming and walks away. He’s later seen getting on an eastbound train.