”Reckless behavior is one of those things that stands out in the coroner’s definition of homicide,” Keller said. “The underlying feeling of the jury is that a reckless act resulted in this woman’s death.”
In an unprecedented move, a Lake County coroner's jury Thursday ruled the death of a Waukegan woman in the emergency room of Vista East Medical Center in Waukegan a homicide.
The definition that I give to the Coroner’s Jury during their instructions regarding what constitutes a homicide:
A death that occurs because of an intentional or reckless act by another person. A person is reckless or is acting recklessly when he or she consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk of another’s death from their action or when their action (or inaction) demonstrates a gross deviation from the “standard of care”, which a reasonable person would exercise in a similar situation (the latter does not only refer to “medical care”, but to the usual “care” an individual would take in a similar situation).
Coroner’s Juries decide on the manner of death, keeping in mind that “this is neither a civil nor a criminal trial procedure, merely an inquest regarding the death of this individual” (further Jury instructions). Their decisions do not signify criminal findings or intent on anyone’s part, that is left up to the State’s Attorney and/or the Courts.
Yesterday's Coroner Jury felt that the hosptial was reckless in their behavior pertaining to this 49 year old woman's death and found the manner of death to be "homicide". Two hours in the ER waiting room with the complaint of 10 out of 10 crushing substernal chest pain, with diaphoresis and nausea, triaged but not treated, "a gross deviation from the standard of care" (caring?).
We, today, have filed reports referring this individual's death to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, and the Illinois Department of Public Health. Further action is up to them, although I would recommend an advisory panel be established (with local resident involvement) to oversee changes that will no doubt be made at the hospital.