A month after John Timiriasieff’s right leg was amputated at Doctors Hospital in Coral Gables, homicide detectives knocked at his door with a strange question: Why was his amputated limb found in the garbage?
The detectives had suspected foul play. The real story turned out to be about hospital sanitation — but it’s still a whodunnit.
Timiriasieff, a Key Largo man in his 50s, went into the hospital, part of the Baptist Health South Florida system, in October for an amputation below his right knee. But the hospital, instead of incinerating the amputated limb as is the normal practice, tossed the leg into the garbage.
So Timiriasieff is suing. He filed a lawsuit with the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court on Wednesday claiming the hospital caused him emotional distress.
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The hospital’s conduct, the lawsuit says, “was outrageous and beyond all bounds of human decency … and utterly intolerable in civilized society.”
The homicide detectives found the leg — with Timiriasieff’s name tag still attached — at a waste management facility and notified Timiriasieff, who contacted the hospital for an explanation.
Doctors Hospital told him “they would provide no explanation for what had occurred,” according to the lawsuit. Timiriasieff also wrote a letter to the hospital’s administrator in January that went unanswered.
“When we contacted the hospital, they claimed they could not give us any explanation for why or how this happened,” said Clay Roberts, Timiriasieff’s attorney.
The lawsuit claims Timiriasieff suffered invasion of privacy, embarrassment and humiliation because of the hospital’s oversight.
Doctors Hospital said it couldn’t comment on the details of the case because of patient privacy concerns.
But, it added in an emailed statement, that “when Doctors Hospital was notified of this situation, hospital leaders took immediate and appropriate measures to address it. Proper procedures have been reinforced at the hospital to prevent similar situations from happening in the future.”
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This story was produced in collaboration with Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.