Two Families Sue Hospital After Relatives Turn Off Life Support For Wrong Man
Two families are suing Chicago Police Department and Mercy Hospital after a man was falsely identified which led to the wrong family giving their permission to switch off the life support machine of a man that wasn't their loved one.
The alleged mix-up came after Chicago police are said to have wrongly identified a man who was found unconscious under a car in South Wabash back in April.
Police identified him as Alfonso Bennett and his family were informed when the hospital called Mr Bennett's sister, Rosie, on May 13 to tell her that her brother was in the intensive care unit.
According to NBC Chicago, Rosie said that police had used a mug shot to identify the body despite him having severe facial injuries.
Less than a week later on 20 May, doctors explained to Mr Bennett's family that they would need to take 'him' off the life support machine, the lawsuit states.
The family agreed and he passed away three days later on 23 May.
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Then a few days before Mr Bennett's funeral was due to take place, he turned up to a family barbecue. The funeral home holding what the family believed to be was Mr Bennett's body were contacted and the police were informed.
After using fingerprint technology, it was confirmed that the body was actually that of Elisha Brittman. Mr Brittman's family had been searching for him since he went missing.
When Mr Brittman went failed to return home his niece, Mioshi Brittman, became concerned and even went to Chicago Police Department's Wentworth District to file a missing-person report.
In an interview reported by Chicago Sun-Times, Ms Brittman said: "It wasn't just I just searched for him one day. It was every day. If I get off from work - keep searching. Talking with someone after work - 'did you call, did you see?'."
The families have now met when they attended their attorney's office to announce that they were filing the joint lawsuit. The suit claims that there was wilful misconduct and negligence by the Chicago Police Department and Mercy Hospital, causing emotional trauma for both families.
According to NBC, a spokesperson for the Chicago's law department, Bill McCaffrey, said that the city has 'not yet received the suit', and Mercy Hospital said that it could not comment 'due to pending litigation'.
Featured Image Credit: CBS