ST. LOUIS • Six years after a homeless woman died on the floor of a jail cell in Richmond Heights, her family has settled its lawsuit against the jail, the hospitals and the doctors involved.
All the parties signed a confidentiality agreement that bars them from discussing the case or disclosing how much money was involved.
But Richmond Heights’ settlement amount is public information because it involves public money. The city paid the family of Anna Brown $568,750.
Brown’s family filed the wrongful-death lawsuit in 2012 alleging that St. Mary’s Health Center in Richmond Heights and St. Louis University Hospital failed to diagnose deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots in her legs, a treatable but life-threatening condition.
Brown, 29, went to both hospitals on Sept. 21, 2011, complaining of severe pain in her leg, and was asked to leave on the day she died. Doctors at St. Mary’s called police to have her arrested for trespassing after she was discharged, and gave police medical clearance to take her to jail.
About an hour later, Brown died on the jail cell floor after the clots broke loose, lodged in her lungs and suffocated her.
Her tale was the subject of a Post-Dispatch story, which included video surveillance that captured a police officer telling the Richmond Heights fire chief that St. Mary’s staff thought Brown was a “drug seeker,” after the two tried to revive her.
Brown’s mother, Dorothy Davis, filed the suit in St. Louis Circuit Court on behalf of Brown’s two children. Davis became the guardian of her grandchildren, who were then 3 and 12 years old, after Brown became homeless.
The suit alleged that St. Louis University Hospital physicians acted negligently in failing to diagnose deep vein thrombosis and that physicians at St. Mary’s caused Brown “humiliation, mental anguish, restraint of her freedom and hastened her into an agonizing and frightening death.”
In addition to wrongful death, Davis’ lawsuit accused St. Mary’s of false arrest and imprisonment.