Family of UMMC patient left out in the cold, speaks out

Family of UMMC patient left out in the cold, speaks out

BALTIMORE (WBFF)-- The family of the woman left in the cold by employees of the University of Maryland Medical Center held a press conference Thursday.

Alongside attorney J. Wyndal Gordon and the Reverend C.D. Witherspoon, the mother and sisters of the woman left in the cold, spoke to members of the media.

The mother of the woman, identified by her first name, Rebecca, said her daughter has insurance and a family that loves her.

She said she saw the video of her daughter on social media the night that she was left in the cold. Rebecca's mother said when she called the hospital she was transferred to multiple employees, all of whom gave her an email address for media relations. She contacted Baltimore Police who went to the hospital and found out that her daughter had been taken to a Code Blue Shelter by taxi cab.

Rebecca's twin sister spoke tearfully about her sister's mental health struggles, and seeing the video that shocked the family.

Reverend C.D. Witherspoon says he plans to push for legislation to prevent similar situations from happening in the future.

Here is a statment released by the University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown campus on January 18th:

"The University of Maryland Medical Center is committed to keeping the public informed about actions taken subsequent to the widely publicized January 9 post-discharge of one of our patients from the Midtown campus."

"To reiterate, we take full responsibility for the failure that occurred in demonstrating compassion to this young woman in the post-discharge process after delivering medical care," said Mohan Suntha, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of the University of Maryland Medical Center. "Last week, we pledged to fully investigate the incident and take appropriate action. Over the last week, a cross-departmental team across both UMMC campuses has completed a thorough and unsparing internal review of the circumstances that led to this incident, and is committed to being transparent to the greatest extent possible, given what is allowable by law regarding patient information and personnel matters."

"Our internal investigation identified a breakdown in coordination of several touchpoints within the continuum of care after the point of medical discharge to ensure the social needs of the patient were met."

UMMC resulting actions steps include:

- Added expertise from medical safety experts at critical decision points around complex discharges.

- Conducted staff education and training on updated post-discharge procedures.

- Implemented personnel action to hold individuals accountable for the incident. Actions extend across multiple layers of the organization and were guided by the findings uncovered during our review.

- Engaged outside experts to conduct an independent audit to ensure we have identified and remediated any gaps in our processes. This is in addition to external review by the Maryland Office of Health Care Quality.

"I'm confident the decisions and actions we have made in response to this incident are in keeping with the high standards of excellence to which we have always held ourselves, and that our actions address the root causes of last week's breakdown," Suntha said. "I am also committed to helping advance important conversations among community partners and hospital leaders across this city, state and nation on how we collectively care for our most vulnerable populations."

"We understand and respect the significant public interest in learning more specifics on the outcome of our comprehensive review. However, it's important to understand we are restricted by law from addressing the confidential details of patient care and personnel actions. Therefore, we are not able to comment on the veracity of information being presented as fact by those outside of the organization. We will continue to focus our efforts on systemic change in collaboration with others who will work alongside us."

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