Lindsey Poteet was at the end of her month-long drug rehabilitation program at New Life Lodge. However, tragic events unfolded and instead of being reunited with her young daughter, she instead lay brain dead and on life support in a hospital bed.
Things had looked much more positive when she initially agreed to treatment, but within a few weeks of being admitted she had become very ill with pneumonia. And her illness and subsequent death have raised many questions regarding her care and the level of in-patient service offered at the facility.
One particular question is why she wasn’t able to receive competent medical care when at the facility and instead had to be driven to hospital, where she died en route.
The Events Leading up to Death
It’s not clear how Lindsey took ill with pneumonia, but an investigation found that she wasn’t the only patient at the facility to fall ill, and that New Life Lodge had a reputation for being over crowded, with barely enough beds, and enough staff to look after patients adequately.
As she became ill, her family reported concern when speaking to her by phone that her breathing had become very labored and that she was coughing a lot.
On the day that her treatment was planned to end, she was almost too weak to stand and was hurried off to hospital. However, many questions remain about why the decisions that were taken, had been made.
Quality of Care
For one, she was not cared for adequately at the facility, and it was decided that she had to be driven to hospital. But instead of being driven to the nearest hospital around eight miles away, was instead taken to one over thirty miles away.
Plus the person driving her took her in a van belonging to the facility, rather than Lindsey being taken in an ambulance. And the driver was not medically trained. This situation came to a head during the journey when it was reported that Lindsey wasn’t breathing.
The driver called 911 urgently and was asked to check whether Lindsey was still breathing. The driver wasn’t sure how to check this, or how to look after Lindsey in such an emergency.
By the time Lindsey reached hospital, she was declared brain dead and put on life support. It was determined that she would never regain normal function and her mother had to make the decision to remove the life support.
The Autopsy Results
In Lindsey’s autopsy it was revealed that the cause of death was due to the toxic combination of anti-depressant and therapeutic drugs in her system.
Through the government, media, and legal investigations that followed, this was ruled an accidental death. However, these investigations did uncover other deaths that same year, and more deaths followed in the years after.
These deaths have resulted in multi-million dollar lawsuits by family members, and certain insurers ending patient referrals to the facility. The negative publicity has continued to surround the facility, although it still houses a very significant number of patients each year.