A New York City woman is suing a hospital after she says she allowed doctors to discontinue the life support of a man she mistakenly considered her brother based on her identification.
Shirell Powell is suing St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx after she says she and other family members have unnecessarily suffered the loss of her brother because the hospital mistakenly identified a man with a similar name.
According to the lawsuit, Freddy Clarence Williams was admitted to the hospital on July 15 after being found unconscious with brain damage after a drug overdose.
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The hospital would have checked his records to see that Frederick Williams had been treated previously and then the family was contacted. The problem: The hospital is accused of having made the mistake of Fred Williams.
"This is my little brother, so it was very painful," Powell told the New York Post. "I was worried, hurt, crying, screaming, calling everyone. It was a horrible feeling."
Powell said the man she thought was bothered had a tube in her mouth and was swollen when she first saw him. Another brother would have questioned whether an identity error had also been committed.
"She came into the room and said," That's not my brother, "Powell told the Post.
The family eventually decided that the man's facial features were similar enough that it could not be a mistake.
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Even one of Frederick Williams's alleged teenage daughters even said his final goodbye.
On July 29, Powell authorized doctors to withdraw life support.
Less than a month later, the family was notified by the city coroner that there was an error with the original identification.
"I almost fainted because I killed someone I did not even know. I gave consent," Powell told the Post.
The real Williams was alive and in a city prison, information unknown to his family at the time.
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The hospital did not immediately respond to Fox News's request for comment, but St. Barnabas Hospital spokesman Steven Clark told the Post that the suit has no merit.
Powell is seeking an unspecified amount of compensation for serious emotional damage.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.