A misidentification at a Chicago hospital led to a family taking a man they thought was their loved one off life support – but that man wasn’t who they thought he was, a new lawsuit states.
Two families are suing Chicago and Mercy Hospital for the alleged mix-up after they say Chicago police identified a man found naked and unconscious under a car in the 4700 block of South Wabash in April as Alfonso Bennett. The man was taken to Mercy Hospital for treatment for severe facial injuries, the lawsuit states.
The hospital called Bennett’s sister, Rosie, on May 13, telling her her brother was at the hospital, according to the suit.
“I stepped out and back in and I said, ‘How did you all verify this was my brother?’” Brooks said in a press conference Wednesday.
She said she was told police used a mug shot to ID the body.
On May 20, doctors told Rosie the man would need to be taken off life support, the suit states. He was and three days later, he died.
It wasn’t until a few days before the body was set to be buried that Alfonso Bennett returned from out of town for a family barbecue, the family said.
They quickly called the funeral home and urged them to call police, who later determined the body was actually that of Elisha Brittman, the lawsuit states. Brittman’s family said they had been searching for their missing loved one for some time.
“It would have been easy to fingerprint,” said Attorney Cannon Lambert. “It would have been easy and police and hospital should have done it.”
Bill McCaffrey, a spokesman for the Chicago's law department, said the city has "not yet received the suit." Mercy Hospital said it could not comment "due to pending litigation."