Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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D.C. woman claims patient abuse

The family of a former patient of the GW Hospital is promising to picket outside the building every day until the hospital’s administration publicly acknowledges that patients could contract the herpes virus while undergoing dialysis treatment.

The Williams family claims their matriarch, Mae Bruce, 73, contracted herpes while she was a patient at the hospital. The family’s quest to seek retribution and legal compensation has spanned almost a decade, with four members of the family saying they will protest the hospital until the wrongs they allege happened are righted by a public apology.

“We want them to admit, this time publicly, so that if there are other people out there who have [herpes] and not aware, they can get treated for it,” Monda Williams said.

What started as a medical malpractice suit, has involved to include nearly 30 complaints against the hospital, allegations of blacklisting Bruce among area hospitals and an assault charge.

Williams is seeking legal protection from Director of Case Management Beth Reinhart, who allegedly grabbed Williams’ arm and attempted to take her cell phone while Williams was visiting her mother.

The case will go before D.C.’s small claims court.

A spokesperson for the hospital declined to comment on any of the ongoing litigation or the charges.

Williams hired an attorney to examine the possibility of a medical malpractice suit against the hospital for her mother’s alleged contraction of herpes from dialysis treatment and a charge of premature discharge.

“This is a long way from me filing a lawsuit,” her attorney, Lawrence Elgin, said. Elgin is still waiting for the hospital to provide Bruce’s medical records before going forward.

Tuesday and Wednesday, a small group that included Williams and her brother, gathered outside the hospital to express their grievances.

Williams used a megaphone to share her mother’s story, holding a sign that read “GW Hospital Blackballs Patients.”

Elgin said he is awaiting access to Bruce’s medical records before making further comments on this accusation.

“I am alarmed by what I would call negligence,” Elgin said.

The attorney is also looking into Bruce’s struggle to receive treatment from medical facilities other than GW.

Williams alleges the hospital staff communicated false information about her mother to “blackball” her from receiving dialysis treatment at facilities other than GW.

Because there is no “system set in place for due process,” patients are unable to counter allegations made by doctors to other doctors, she said.

Elgin wrote a cease and desist letter on Aug. 30 to the hospital’s medical director, Gary Little, demanding that the hospital stop sharing Bruce’s medical information without the knowledge of Bruce and her family.

“To knowingly cast a false light on someone who is as vulnerable as Ms. Bruce is not respectable behavior by the personnel of any hospital,” he wrote.

The letter detailed Bruce’s history at these medical facilities and blamed the hospital for the mistreatment Bruce said she encountered.

The attorney has made some headway on the issue of Bruce’s alleged premature release from the hospital. Bruce suffered a stroke in mid-August and the family was angry when the hospital released her despite what they said was disagreement among her health care providers as to the best medical route.

Shortly after, Elgin filed an appeal with the Quality Improvement Organization, a program that ensures quality care for Medicare beneficiaries. An appeal was granted to temporarily prolong Bruce’s stay.

“We have made some progress, but there is a long way to go,” Elgin said.

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