Despite a patient’s compromised physical and mental state, emergency room staff at Henry Ford Jackson Hospital discharged her during the night into the dangerously cold weather conditions. A few hours later, she was picked up by an ambulance and returned to the ER with severe hypothermia.  During re-waring efforts, she suffered a fatal cardiac arrest, the direct result of the hospital’s negligence, as alleged in a new action filed by Sommers Schwartz attorney Robert Sickels.

According to the wrongful death lawsuit, police were summoned to the apartment complex where 63 year old Gail Broner lived because she had been acting erratically outside of her neighbor’s apartment. An officer was concerned about her mental and physical condition and requested an ambulance to take her to Henry Ford Jackson Hospital.  In the Emergency Department, she showed signs of confusion, disorientation, back and neck pain, and critically low electrolyte levels. A history of alcoholism was noted, but blood testing found no alcohol in her system that evening.  A CT Scan of the brain was negative for any acute pathology.  She was given an initial dose of oral medication to correct her electrolyte levels.  She was not re-tested to determine if her electrolyte levels had been normalized. Rather, she was evicted from the Emergency Room at 2:30 a,m, without any arrangements for her safe transportation home.  No family member was called. The reported low temperature that morning was 18 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ms. Broner then tried to return home on foot, dressed only in a pajama bottom and a light shirt.  She had no shoes, no coat, and no cell phone. 4 hours time later, a bystander called 911 about a woman – Ms. Broner – who was huddled on a sidewalk, a few blocks from the hospital. Once an ambulance arrived, Gail Broner was so cold an EMT could not obtain a blood pressure or oral temperature.  Once back to the ER, emergency rewarming attempts were futile.  She was pronounced dead at 8:47 a.m. due to severe hypothermia and cardiac arrest. 

Ms. Broner’s estate claims that hospital staff members were fully aware of her physical and mental limitations yet callously and negligently released her late at night into extremely cold weather conditions without taking reasonable measures to ensure her safety and well-being.

The case is now pending in Jackson County, Michigan Circuit Court.