In an interesting 2016 North Carolina appellate case, the plaintiffs appealed a dismissal of their complaint against a hospital and university health care system. The case arose when a man was admitted to the hospital complaining of abdominal pains. He was married to the plaintiff and was the father of two children who were also plaintiffs. He was an active, healthy person.
While at the hospital, the man’s condition got worse and he was transferred to the ICU, put on a ventilator and died. His body was transferred to the university health care system, but it was later unclear from the plaintiff’s complaint whether this was before or after he died. The defendants’ responsive pleadings stated that his deceased body was transferred.
A few years later, the plaintiffs sued the hospital and health care system. They claimed that the decedent had screamed and called out loudly for his wife and kids, but the hospital staff refused to permit them to see him. The wife told staff she had waited too much time to see her husband and staff had sat with her in the waiting room but refused to let her see the man. The plaintiffs also alleged that neither the man nor his wife had given permission for him to be removed from the ventilator.