‘Dead People Don’t Move’: Was DeGraff Doctor’s Conduct ‘outrageous’?

May 16, 2019

Degraff Memorial Hospital in North Tonawanda. (Mark Mulville/News file photo)
Degraff Memorial Hospital in North Tonawanda.

The emergency room doctor who mistakenly told Tammy Cleveland that her husband had died at DeGraff Memorial Hospital from a heart attack – despite the family’s reports that he was breathing and moving his arm – showed “outrageous conduct that transcends the bounds of human decency,” her lawyer said this week before appellate judges.

So a jury should have a chance to pass judgment on her claims of intentional infliction of extreme emotional distress and punitive damages against the doctor and hospital, said Charles F. Burkwit, her lawyer.

“We believe that it’s extreme and outrageous conduct that a nurse or a doctor would not reassess a patient in this situation,” Burkwit said before the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Rochester.
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