Providence Health & Services faces a wrongful death lawsuit claiming that a patient with dementia wandered out of the hospital and died after being found alone outside on a cold, rainy day.
The complaint, filed by the estate of Daniel Lee Evans in Multnomah County Circuit Court, seeks at least $2 million in damages.
The suit says Evans was admitted to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland in November 2015 for unspecified treatment. He was placed on a hold to keep him in the hospital, the suit says, and a bed alarm was set up to alert staff when he got out of bed. But the alarm was turned off when Evans was still in the hospital, the complaint claims.
It says that in the morning on Dec. 4, 2015, Evans left the hospital on his own, without his medications and without checking out. The suit says that Providence staff did not alert the family. They only found out when Evans’ sister called St. Vincent to find out about picking him up, the complaint says.
A Providence spokesman declined to comment, saying the hospital group does not discuss pending litigation.
The suit says that a day after leaving the hospital Evans was found alone, shaking and wet, by emergency personnel at a bus stop in Hillsboro, miles from the Southwest Portland hospital. It was a cold day, with temperatures sinking to 38 degrees, and it rained a half an inch, the suit says.
Evans was taken to Tuality Community Hospital in Hillsboro for treatment but he didn’t get better, the suit says. He died of pneumonia 10 days after being found, the suit says.
The complaint accuses Providence staff of negligence in his death. It said staff turned the bed alarm off while the hold was in place, failed to prevent Evans from the leaving the hospital, failed to alert his family and police when staff discovered he had left and failed to conduct an “adequate search” for Evans on and around his property.
The suit seeks $1 million in damages for the loss of Evans’ companionship for his beneficiaries, another million for the suffering that Evans underwent and an undetermined amount of medical expenses. The complaint seeks a jury trial.
You can reach Lynne Terry at [email protected].