Healthcare News & Insights

Patient: I was beaten for leaving hospital


If this story is true, one hospital needs to undertake some serious retraining of its security staff.

Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, Maryland, is being sued after a series of “misunderstandings” regarding one patient.

According to court documents, Joseph Wheeler, 46, was brought by ambulance to Prince George’s after a car accident on June 23. He was treated for blunt torso trauma, but no other acute injuries.

The next morning, Wheeler awoke to a nurse informing him that he was going to be prepped for surgery to remove a potentially cancerous mass from his chest. Soon after, Wheeler noticed his hospital-issued ID bracelet indicated he was a 33-year-old woman.

No longer feeling secure with his treatment at the hospital, Wheeler and his wife gathered his belongings and started to leave. According to the complaint Wheeler filed, two security guards detained him, called him a “bitch” repeatedly, shoved him into a wall and then took him into an elevator where they beat him while he was on the floor in a fetal position.

Eventually, Wheeler spoke to a hospital administrator who had him sign a release that he was leaving against medical advice.

Wheeler went to nearby St. Mary’s Hospital, where he was treated for four broken ribs, a sprained shoulder, a ruptured spleen and a concussion.

The Wheelers have filed suit for $3.2 million in compensatory damages and $9.5 million in punitive damages. So far, the hospital hasn’t commented publicly on the case.

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