Complaint Alleges Patient on 1-1 Observation Dies Of Complications of Blunt Force Impact While Under the Care of Arbour-Fuller Hospital

The family of an intellectually disabled woman filed suit after she died while being treated at Arbour-Fuller Hospital. Darcil Berry was nonverbal and lived in supervised care throughout her life. In 2010, she was admitted to Arbour-Fuller hospital due to aggressive, self-harming behavior. The plaintiff alleges that Darcil, despite being ordered 1:1 observation upon admission, was left alone in a private room where she was able to hit and bite herself, throw objects, roll on the floor and bang her head against the wall.

The complaint alleges that a week after admission, Darcil was found lying unresponsive in her room. After she was treated at an acute care hospital, the facility “made a business decision to keep her at Arbour-Fuller despite concerns over the hospital’s ability to provide an appropriate level of care.” For another week, staff observed the same self-harming behavior until Darcil was found in her room unconscious with no heartbeat. She was then resuscitated and taken to another acute care hospital, where doctors told her family that she had sustained extensive brain damage and the decision was made to extubate her. The autopsy concluded the cause of death was “complications of blunt force impact […].”

This case is ongoing as of May 23, 2016.