Boston settles for .3 1.3 million with people arrested and denied care during a stroke

The city of Boston settled with a man who had a stroke for 1. 1.3 million, but was arrested without assistance from police, EMT or hospital staff. It is one of the largest settlements of its kind, according to Boston’s public radio station WBUR.

Al Copeland, 62, was driving in Boston one night in April 2019, when he began to feel nauseous and pull in front of the Berkeley College of Music. Police saw him fall on his steering wheel and arrested him, even reporting they smelled alcohol. Copeland says he hasn’t drank since 1995.

Copeland was taken to the police station and could barely stand. Police left him to use the bathroom in a holding cell, but during the stroke he fell to the floor, banging his head against the wall. Police records show officers left him alone in the cell “to sleep.”

An ambulance was called to Copeland just five hours after the first arrest by police.

Copeland was taken from that cell to Tufts Medical Center. Police records show that medical staff also assumed he was drunk. They kept him in the emergency room for another seven hours.

His wife Valerie She was finally able to find her husband. That’s when doctors confirmed that he had no drugs or alcohol in his system, and that he had suffered a stroke. She believes her husband was neglected because he is black.

Copeland was hospitalized for several weeks before going into rehabilitation. He had to quit his job. Today she is having trouble walking or even eating.

Tufts apologized for what happened in Copeland’s case, but told WBUR that it could not comment on his care or any legal treatment of his case. Since the incident, they have added social workers to help patients who cannot communicate and form a center for diversity, equality and inclusion to reduce care inequality.

The Boston Police Department investigated after the family contacted the city attorney. Investigators found two officers and a sergeant guilty of negligence of duty – not for driving Copeland into a drunken stupor and for throwing him into a cell unnecessarily. They were quoted for not responding quickly enough after Copeland fell and hit him on the head.

According to the WBUR, the department has not yet been able to discipline officials, despite an internal investigation ending more than a year ago.

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