Thursday, December 22, 2005

Violent the hospital?

This is one of those stories that one generally accepts as relatively routine - a death at a hospital. This story, however, seems to have a sinister undercurrent: "Police investigating St. Paul hospital death".

ST. PAUL (AP) - Police were investigating the death of a 79-year-old female patient who died of apparent head injuries at St. Joseph's Hospital.

Olivia Geller was being treated at the hospital for pneumonia. Last month, her body was found on the floor of her hospital room.
So far, nothing out of the ordinary. She's an elderly woman, after all, in a weakened state due to illness. The story takes a twist though:

According to an affidavit filed Wednesday in Ramsey County District Court, Geller sustained injuries in a fall, but she also had cuts on her face and bruises on her hand that could be possible defensive wounds.
There were signs of violence:

On Nov. 11, a nurse checked on Geller about 3 a.m. and found her drowsy, but awake, in bed wearing her hospital gown and an oxygen mask, the affidavit said.

About 20 minutes later, the nurse found Geller naked on the floor of her room - her gown, still tied in the back and snapped at the sleeves, was on a chair across the room. Geller was wearing the oxygen mask, which had blood in it, the affidavit said.

Geller had apparently struck the floor and an IV stand. She had a "bad bleed" in her brain, the affidavit said. She died the next morning.
Perhaps some of these things could be explained away, but here's where the story takes another ominous twist. And this was particularly shocking, considering the setting is a hospital, after all:

In the weeks surrounding Geller's death, there were "numerous reports" of people trespassing at the hospital, the affidavit said. Three days after the death, two people suspected of trespassing fought with hospital security and were arrested.

Sonnee said trespassers are not a chronic problem at the hospital.
So the trespassers are not chronic - are they acute? What's going on at St. Josephs, and why haven't those "incidents" been reported? Who are the people who were arrested, and why were they fighting authorities. . .in a hospital?

Is there more to the story? It appears this poor woman may have met a violent end in a place of healing and up until now, safety.

We need answers.