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Police Brutality/Medical Malpractice Blamed for Death of Niagara Falls Man


The family of a man who died in 2019 has filed a lawsuit against Niagara Falls police, alleging that the department’s mistreatment of the man coupled with poor treatment at the hospital directly led to the man’s death.

The victim suffered cardiac arrest after being taken to a Niagara Falls hospital and ended up in a persistent vegetative state. The incidents that led to his death began at a Niagara Falls homeless shelter.

What Happened? 

In June of 2019, the victim was being kicked out of a homeless shelter where he’d been living. The shelter called police to have the man physically removed from the premises. As he was being removed from the building, the man, who was handcuffed behind his back, fell down a series of stairs. The family is alleging that police pushed the man down the stairs. Police, of course, deny this claim.

In the police report, an officer said that the man “jumped” down the stairs. Video surveillance recorded much of what happened. According to his attorneys, the victim was mistreated by police and then failed by hospital staff resulting in his death.

An “Uncontrollable Patient” 

After being removed from the homeless shelter and suffering injuries due to his fall down the stairs, the plaintiff was brought to the hospital where he remained in a state of agitation. The doctors attempted to calm him down by giving him the horse tranquilizer ketamine. Ketamine is often abused on the street under the name Special K. It is popular at raves and where designer drugs are heavily consumed. Ketamine is also used to sedate horses and is given to burn victims who are in substantial pain. Because ketamine is generally not used to sedate psychotic patients and is more often used for recreational drug abuse, the patient became more agitated.

Doctors then tried several other drugs to calm the patient and place him on a ventilator. Four hours later, the patient went into cardiac arrest, which constricted the flow of oxygen to his brain. Medical staff successfully got the patient’s heart beating again, but by then, he was braindead.

Where is the Medical Malpractice? 

The plaintiffs are alleging that the victim had an undiagnosed head injury from his fall down the stairs. They also believe that administration of ketamine to a psychotic patient who was believed to be on a number of other medications was the wrong course of action.

It would be difficult to link the ketamine specifically to the cardiac arrest, but the fact that the plaintiff had a host of other drugs in his system and then had to be placed on a ventilator is an indication that this likely wasn’t the typical way to treat a psychotic patient.

Talk to a Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorney Today 

If you’ve sustained injuries due to medical malpractice or lost a loved one due to the negligent practice of medicine, call the Tampa medical malpractice attorneys at Palmer | Lopez today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.


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