Imagine yourself waking up on a surgical bed while doctors are preparing to harvest your organs. It’s like a page out of a graphic horror novel!
However, this was a real case involving St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center patient Colleen S. Burns, who was hospitalized in 2009 and became comatose after a drug overdose. Hospital doctors and staff bypassed several key procedures and failed to confirm the patient’s condition prior to pronouncing her dead.
The state’s health department investigated the matter and cited blatant errors by the Syracuse hospital. There were communication problems between the doctors and the nursing staff, such as the doctors’ dismissal of an observation about the patient’s improved condition. The investigation also pointed out the lack of necessary tests and scans to assess the extent of drug intoxication in Burns’ system, according to a news report.
Based on the results of the state investigation, the health center was fined a relatively measly $6,000 for the near-harvesting. The health department also slapped a $16,000 fine for negligence of another patient who suffered a head injury after falling while in hospital care.
In addition, the incident involving Burns was not scrutinized by the hospital officers, and the family of the patient did not receive any explanation from the doctors.
More than a year after the hospital incident where she was hospitalized for overdosing on a drug cocktail mix of Xanax and Benadryl, Burns committed suicide in January 2011. Her mother, Lucille Kuss, shared that Burns “was so depressed that it really didn’t make any difference to her.” Surprisingly, no charges were filed by Burns or her relatives against the hospital.