HVAC Breaking News

April 23, 2003: Michigan Files Charges Due To Heat-Related Death

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox announced that he has filed involuntary manslaughter charges against a Detroit nursing home, its medical director, and director of nursing following an investigation into the heat-related death (hyperthermia) of a 78-year-old female tube-fed resident. (See The News, “Nursing Home Deaths Lead To A/C Legislation,” July 16, 2001.)

“We have a fundamental obligation to protect the most vulnerable in our society. In the case of Ms. Williams, that obligation was completely ignored by Northland, by the supervising doctor, and the head nurse. Their refusal to act accordingly cost Ms. Williams her life,” Cox stated. “I will not sit idly by and watch this neglect go unpunished. Our seniors deserve much better.”

Cox alleges that on or about June 15, 2001, the defendants failed to provide adequate care for resident Mary Williams. Northland and other facilities statewide had received alerts regarding hazardous temperature levels, cautioning each facility, especially those with elderly residents, that hyperthermia is a medical emergency necessitating immediate steps in order to prevent death.

Williams was assessed as a dehydration risk. High temperatures in Detroit reached 87 degrees F on June 13, 89 degrees F on June 14, and 90 degrees F on June 15, 2001. On June 14, several seriously ill residents began experiencing problems as a result of the heat. The situation was compounded by the lack of air conditioning, a shortage of fans, and the fact that the windows could not be opened.

During midnight rounds, Williams was found to have a temperature of 107 degrees. She was then given Tylenol. Twenty minutes later Williams was found unconscious and unresponsive with no vital signs. The medical examiner concluded that the death was caused by prolonged exposure to excessive heat.

Publication date: 04/21/2003

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to The NEWS Magazine

Recent Articles by Greg Mazurkiewicz

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

2015 HARDI Fly-In

Highlights from HARDI's Congressional Fly-In in Washington, D.C. Post date: May 28, 2015.


NEWSMakers: Kevin Conrad
Kevin Conrad, president, Kevin Conrad Heating and Cooling Inc., Nantucket, Massachusetts, breaks down working in the New England climate, the benefits of insulation foam, and more.

More Podcasts


NEWS 06-29-15 cover

2015 June 29

Check out the weekly edition of The NEWS today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Online Reviews

Do you track online review sites like Yelp to look for comments on your company’s performance?
View Results Poll Archive


2015 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

More Products

Clear Seas Research


Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


Magazine image
Register today for complete access to ACHRNews.com. Get full access to the latest features, Extra Edition, and more.


facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconLinkedIn i con