If you have ever been beside a loved one in the hospital as they passed away, you realize that it can be a very difficult situation, to say the least. Shirell Powell from New York City, New York was going through something similar last July when she was comforting her brother at his bedside in the hospital. He had overdosed so severely that his brain was damaged.
It took some time for Powell to come to grips with what was happening. She eventually was able to say her goodbyes and her family members did the same. It was then her decision to take him off life support so that he could peacefully pass away.
A lawsuit is now being filed by Powell against St. Barnabas Hospital, and the accusation is quite alarming. Apparently, the man that was removed off life support was not her brother but it was a stranger who had a similar appearance and name.
The lawsuit says that the man taken off life support was Freddie Clarence Williams, a 40-year-old man, and not her brother, Frederick Williams, who was the same age.
Powell had a difficulty telling a difference between the two men because there were so many tubes that obscured Freddie’s face. He was unresponsive and there was a considerable amount of swelling because of the brain damage.
There were some differences, including the height difference but she said that Freddie looked ‘so much’ like her brother.
Powell was sitting at Freddy’s bedside while her brother, Frederick, was in jail on Rikers Island. Nobody in their family realized that he was locked up and waiting for a court date at a future time.
The lawsuit has been filed in Bronx Supreme Court earlier this month. Powell is seeking damages from the hospital because of the mixup. She also said that the mistake was not recognized until an autopsy was performed on Freddie by the city’s medical examiner.
“I nearly fainted because I killed somebody that I didn’t even know,” Powell told The New York Post. “I gave consent. I was like, ‘Where is my brother? What is going on?'”
Her lawsuit also talks about other mixups by the staff at the hospital, including the calls she received after Freddie was admitted. She had been listed as her brother’s emergency contact. Even though Freddie had his own Social Security card on him, the mistake was made.
A hospital spokesman told the post, they “don’t feel there is any merit to this claim.”
According to Powell, the only person to notice that something wasn’t right prior to the autopsy was her sister. She had visited Freddie in hospice prior to the time that he died.
“That is not my brother,” she reportedly told Powell, before convincing herself that “Frederick’s” face was just swollen.
Two of Frederick’s teenage daughters came from Virginia to visit him as he was dying and they had no idea they were crying over the wrong man.
In case you are wondering, Frederick is not holding a grudge against his sister for ‘pulling the plug’. He does have a problem with the hospital because of the mistaken identity.
“He was saying, ‘You were going to kill me?'” Powell told the Post. “I explained to him, once you’re brain dead, there is nothing to do.”