WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Due to a hospital’s alleged negligence, a male New Yorker’s life abruptly ended when a woman who thought he was her brother consented to turn off his life support.
- The error was discovered in the medical examiner’s office during the man’s autopsy; though they bore the same names – Fred William, the woman’s brother had no middle name.
- The woman, Shirell Powell, is now suing the Bronx hospital for undisclosed damages for emotional harm.
A case of mistaken identity resulted to accidentally ending the life of a man from New York when a total stranger decided to pull the plug of his life support.
Shirell Powell stayed by the hospital bedside of the brain-dead man whom she thought was her brother, Fred Williams, for several days last summer. According to The Associated Press, Williams suffered brain damage after a drug overdose. She also related to the New York Post that at first, her sister did not recognize the man in the hospital bed, but later thought he was unrecognizable due to the massive swelling.
Eventually, Powell gave doctors the go signal to stop life support. She was organizing her brother’s funeral when she was informed that there had been a big mistake. During the autopsy performed by the city medical examiner, they discovered that the patient was actually a different 40-year-old African-American named Fred Williams, whose full name is Freddy Clarence Williams. Powell’s brother had no middle name.
“I nearly fainted because I killed somebody that I didn’t even know. I gave consent,” she told The Associated Press. “I was like, ‘Where is my brother? What is going on?’ I was devastated.”
Actually, her brother was arrested for assault and was in jail on July 1, 2018, according to the New York Post.
After the incident, an awkwardness rose between Powell and her brother who asked her, “You were going to kill me?” To which Shirell explained that “once you’re brain dead, there’s nothing to do.”
Now Powell is taking legal action against St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx for unspecified damages for negligence and causing her and her family grief and “severe emotional harm.”
While Powell wishes to reach out and express her condolences to the other man’s family, no information is provided to them by the hospital due to privacy concerns, says Powell’s lawyer, Alexander Dudelson.
So far, no comment came from the hospital only that the lawsuit is without merit, spokesman for St. Barnabas told HuffPost.