Shakeup At Coney Island Hospital Amid Accusations That Botched Treatment Caused Patient’s Death

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Coney Island Hospital, 2601 Ocean Parkway. (Source: Gregory Maizous)

Coney Island Hospital, 2601 Ocean Parkway. (Source: Gregory Maizous)

Three top officials are leaving their positions at Coney Island Hospital amid accusations that a botched diagnosis earlier this year caused the death of a 47-year-old grandmother.

New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, which runs the scandalized facility, confirmed Friday that three administrators would leave their posts. The agency denied the shakeup had anything to do with “a specific incident” and said the leadership changes were intended to improve patient care.

The hospital (officially called NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island) has come under scrutiny after the death of Grisel Soto, who was reportedly brought to the hospital on January 29 holding her head, screaming and unable to speak. She died the next morning after hospital staff treated her as if she was having a bad reaction to synthetic marijuana.

The family said Soto did not take illegal drugs and believe she suffered from meningitis. They are awaiting test results from the Medical Examiner and are threatening to sue the hospital. They also filed a complaint with the state Health Department, according to the New York Times.

A spokesperson for New York Health and Hospitals said the leadership changes were part of an ongoing reorganization of the agency in order to meet the goals of its Vision 20/20 transformation plan.

“After an extensive review of the hospital’s culture it was decided that changes were necessary to improve the patient experience at the hospital. Our goal is to provide an exceptional experience to every patient and their family and we are committed to the appropriate changes to deliver on that promise,” the agency wrote in a statement.

The agency reports that one of the officials, Chief Nursing Officer Terry Mancher, is retiring. The hospital’s Medical Director John Maese and Acting Executive Director Robert Hughes are moving to other leadership positions within the organization.

New York Health and Hospitals also said there is no truth to allegations made in the New York Post that 450 staff members were hired without proper authorization.

A lawyer representing Soto’s bereaved family said during a press conference that the alleged misdiagnosis is “just the tip of the iceberg,” according to the New York Times. Soto was reportedly shackled to a bed and given a tranquilizer. She suffered several cardiac arrests during the night and died the next morning, the Times reports.

New York City Health and Hospitals said they are not permitted to discuss a patient’s case.