A 23-year-old man died after being left unattended for 7 hours in hospital, his mom claims in a lawsuit

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Yale-New Haven Hospital entryway
A mother is suing Yale-New Haven Hospital after she said medical staff left her son unattended for seven hours.Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images
  • A mother is suing Yale-New Haven Hospital after she said medical staff left her son unattended for seven hours.

  • The 23-year-old died the day after having a cardiac arrest in the hospital waiting area, according to the lawsuit.

  • Yale-New Haven Hospital did not respond to Insider's request for comment.

A mother said in a new lawsuit her 23-year-old son died after being left unattended in a hospital waiting room for seven hours.

In a suit filed to Connecticut Superior Court, Tina Darnsteadt said an ambulance brought her son, William Miller, to the hospital after he ingested white powder laced with fentanyl.

The hospital brought Miller to a part of the hospital reserved for patients with "life-threatening conditions," the suit states. Security footage showed Miller got up from a stretcher to use the bathroom, go to a vending machine, and call his mother as medical providers walked past him for seven hours, according to the suit.

A nurse who eventually came to check on him found Miller without a pulse after having suffered from a heart attack for an "unknown period of time," per the lawsuit.

"As it turns out, Billy would have much better off if he never went to Yale New Haven Hospital," Sean McElligott of Silver Golub & Teitell LLP, the lawyer representing Darnsteadt, said in a statement to Insider. "They assumed responsibility for him, but then did absolutely nothing to help him. It's tragic."

Yale-New Haven Hospital did not respond to Insider's request for comment.

The lawsuit states the hospital put him in an area reserved for patients who need immediate attention due to the risk involving fentanyl

According to the lawsuit, a fire department member gave Miller naloxone, an drug which temporarily stops the effect of opioids, after the 23-year-old ingested fentanyl-laced white powder with friends at a park.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said overdose deaths involving fentanyl increased by 56% from 2019 to 2020, and are continuing to increase.

A small amount of fentanyl is needed to give a "high" effect, making the drug easy to overdose on, according to Rutgers University.

When an ambulance arrived to pick Miller up, he was "walking, talking and alert," the suit states. A nurse put him in a part of the hospital reserved for patients who need immediate attention due to the risk of toxicity involving fentanyl.

The lawsuit states Miller's medical records were not filled between 7:15 a.m., when he was admitted to the hospital, and 1:56 a.m., when he was found without a pulse.

After a nurse found Miller, the lawsuit states the hospital transferred him to a critical care unit where he did not recover brain activity. Medical staff declared him officially dead the next day, per the suit.

"As a further result of the Yale Defendant's negligence, Mr. Miller suffered the premature total loss of the enjoyment of all of his life's activities," the lawsuit reads.

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