HVAC Breaking News

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

April 23, 2003
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
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

2014 Energy Efficiency Forum

Highlights from the 25th annual Energy Efficiency Forum in Washington, D.C.


NEWSMakers: Joseph Groh

Joseph Groh, an industry veteran boasting 35 years of HVAC experience, discusses the 2008 bicycle accident that cut his career tragically short, and how the Joseph S. Groh Foundation is his way of giving back to the construction trade. Posted on Aug. 22.

More Podcasts


NEWS 08-18-14 cover

2014 August 18

Check out the weekly edition of The NEWS today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Prohibiting HFCs

EPA is proposing a rule that would prohibit some HFCs in select refrigeration applications. Do you agree with this move?
View Results Poll Archive


2014 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