Patient found dead in Montefiore clinic stairwell

A 57-year-old woman died Aug. 16 in a stairwell at New York City-based Montefiore's Family Health Center and wasn't found until Aug. 21 after someone reported a "foul odor," according to a Politico report. 

The patient, Sary Mao, was a Khmer-speaking Cambodian refugee who advocated against Montefiore consolidating the Family Health Center and two other clinics in the Bronx last year, according to the report. The Family Health Center's stairwell had an "emergency exit" sign in English but no other languages. 

She died from hypertensive cardiovascular disease, a spokesperson for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner told Politico, and police said she fell and no criminality is suspected.

"We have lots of questions about how her death happened," Mekong NYC, an advocacy group for the Bronx's Southeast Asian community Ms. Mao was part of, said. "We demand answers and transparency from Montefiore, and will hold the hospital accountable so that our communities are safe — and not in further danger — when placed in Montefiore's care."

Former and current employees told the news outlet the facility has struggled with overcrowding after closing a primary care clinic in fall 2022, leading to staff using a conference room when waiting room occupancy fills up. 

Montefiore declined to answer questions about Ms. Mao and the overcrowding allegations.

"HIPAA and patient privacy rules prevent us from providing information about anyone who receives care from us either during their visit or after they have left our facility," a Montefiore spokesperson told Becker's

Becker's has reached out to the NYPD and will update the story if more information becomes available.

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