Lawsuit: Pennsylvania hospital ignored patient's pleas for identification, wrongly injected him with antipsychotic drugs

Clinicians at Meadville (Pa.) Medical Center wrongly injected Eugene Wright with antipsychotic medications in a case of mistaken identity, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by Mr. Wright and cited by The Washington Post.

Here are five things to know.

1. The lawsuit alleges local police picked up Mr. Wright on June 15, mistaking him for a psychiatric patient of the same name who allegedly threatened to harm himself and others at a physician appointment earlier in the day. Despite insisting he was not the same person and asking the police check his identification, the suit contends the officers proceeded to take Mr. Wright to Meadville Medical Center.

2. Upon arrival at the hospital, officers took Mr. Wright to an examination room where he urged a physician to check his identification and allow him to call his daughter or wife, according to the lawsuit. The suit states the physician then ordered Mr. Wright to be injected with intramuscular Haldol, which is used to treat schizophrenia, and the anti-anxiety medication Ativan.

3. The lawsuit claims Mr. Wright resisted injections for 10 minutes, eventually acquiescing after the officers threatened to hold him down if he didn't cooperate, according to the Post. Eventually Mr. Wright's daughter arrived and told the officers her father had been at work all day. A search of medical records confirmed the error. Both a police officer and the physician subsequently apologized for the mix-up, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit also alleges an administrative representative for the hospital apologized to Mr. Wright after the incident and gave him a $50 gift card to a local restaurant.

4. After arriving home from the hospital, Mr. Wright experienced a 12- to 14-hour blackout from the drugs he'd been given, according to the lawsuit. He also told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he's lost 40 pounds since the incident and has had trouble sleeping.

"The experience that I went through, this should never happen to anybody. It's very simple to check ID,'" Mr. Wright told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Right from the beginning, I offered — 'Please, check my identity. Call my work.' … Nobody would do that. Not even the hospital. No one would look at any of that. They just kept insisting they had the right person."

5. The lawsuit names the Meadville Police Department, the hospital and a crisis center involved in the incident as defendants. The allegations made in the suit include assault and battery, negligence and violations of the plaintiff's constitutional rights. Meadville Medical Center did not immediately respond to Becker's request for comment.

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