Pregnant Woman Neglected At Florida State Hospital

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.

10 Responses

  1. A dangerous fake ‘hospital’ to be born in.

    Clearly it was her ‘brain disease’ that was so cogent in picking up the phone desperately calling 911 to get help for her baby, help that never came.

    Just another two lives destroyed by psychiatry.

    Thanks Frank.

    • Florida State Hospital is notorious. It is the oldest and the biggest psychiatric institution in the state of Florida.

      I feel they are going to do what they are going to do, and say the problem is taken care of, and then time is going to elapse. Whatever regulations are applied will go into effect for awhile, and then they will return to business as usual, and we will back where we started. It’s not like they’re there to attend to pregnant women, and It’s not like they’re going to forget what they’re there for.

      We’ve got a rising body count.

    • Actually it appears the help did eventually come

      “Though many details of the December tragedy were removed from the report, records show the mother was eventually airlifted to a Tallahassee hospital, after Gadsden County emergency workers arrived at the psychiatric hospital to check on her welfare.”

      Read more here:

      • Yes, this is mentioned in the article alluded to above, and this help came too late. Now you have a brain damaged child, an investigation, and new regulations to prevent this type of thing from occurring in the future.

  2. I see the doctor is back at work. The one person who should have been able to determine this lady’s condition gets away with it. These people ought to be prosecuted, not just fired. With authority comes responsibility. When people have domain over others in a supposedly civilised society then they have a duty of care to those individuals. This must be enforced by law. It is time to burst the magic protective bubble that doctors exist in.

    • Yes, doctors should be held culpable when they do wrong. They aren’t as a rule. There is the physician’s iconic sacred cow status, or that ‘magic protective bubble’, as you put it. No, I don’t think the doctor was guilty in this case. There is no indication given in the article that the psychiatrist was aware of what was happening on the unit. Seeing that doctors spend the least amount of time with patients in relation to the rest of the hospital staff, I doubt the psychiatrist knew very much about this woman’s plight.

      • Without reading the report it is impossible to say whether the doctor was at fault (probably with reading it as well) but surely they must take some responsibility for what happens to their patients – who for example was responsible for getting the wrong due date (not that that is any excuse because birth can be premature) or for giving instructions to the care staff? It says for example that blood pressure wasn’t being monitored – surely the doctor should have picked that up even on rare examinations?

      • I’d dare say they saw a women with “mental illness” where they should have seen a pregnant woman, and this lead to a number of further missteps. Her “mental illness” label was no good reason to deny her good pre-natal care. Some ex-hospital employees are, as a result, paying for the consequences of their inaction. I’m afraid, as I suggested above, that this is not something the hospital is prepared to deal with on a permanent basis, but we shall see if it arises again. I was reading just the other day an article about people born in mental hospitals in Missippi, now looking for their birth mothers, and so we know babies have been born in psychiatric facilities without complications, too.

  3. What Monday Morning says is right. The doctor is ultimately responsible. The care of mother and child ought to have been paramount regardless of the lady’s mental state. The doctors are quick to take credit when something goes well but they are as slippery as all hell when things go wrong.

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