In December, a week or so before Christmas, staff at Florida State Hospital refused to believe a woman when she told them she was going into labor. The headline in The Miami Herald runs, Florida hospital ignores pregnant mental patient’s pleas, and tragedy ensues.
Held against her will at Florida’s largest state mental hospital, and fearing that she was about to give birth, a 34-year-old woman became so frantic in her efforts to get medical care that she called 911, twice. “There’s nobody here that can help me right now, and I’m pregnant,” she said.
She was reported to have pregnancy induced hypertension making any delivery risky in the first place. Her baby was born with brain damage, and he is on life support.
But she was, indeed, in labor. And her son was born hours later with profound brain damage. He remains on a ventilator, perhaps permanently.
A number of hospital employees have been discharged over this incident.
After the baby’s birth, DCF either launched or cooperated with several investigations of the incident, Follick said. DCF’s internal investigation resulted in the discipline of four department employees: Licensed Practical Nurse Kathryn Cottle was placed on administrative leave on May 24 and given notice of intent to dismiss her; caregiver Eddie McMillian was fired on March 13; Rosalee Peckoo, a doctor, was placed on administrative leave on Jan. 16 and returned to her position May 24; caregiver Maryland Clopton resigned on Feb. 1.
The hospital administrator, Diane James, before the incident occurred had announced her intention to resign, and she has done so.
The woman name was not released to the press due to her civil commitment.
Hospital nursing staff thought this woman was not so far along in her pregnancy as she apparently was, and they dismissed her pleas for help as premature and delusive.
Filed under: Biological Psychiatry, Brain Damage, Children and Adolescents, Discrimination, Florida, Force, Health Care, Human Rights, Investigation, Law, Mental Health Care, Prenatal Care, State Hospital