N.Y. Hospital Under Fire in Death Notification Case

ITHACA, N.Y.—Cayuga Medical Center is seeking to change its policies after it took more than two hours for a family to see the body of a patient who had been shot and killed by a police officer.

Shawn Greenwood, 29, was pronounced dead six minutes after he arrived at the hospital Feb. 23; however, family members maintain that they were not allowed to see the body for two hours and 16 minutes, reports IthacaJournal.com. Hospital officials said the delay was based on a law-enforcement official’s advice to increase security because 60-person crowd had assembled outside of the hospital after Greenwood was brought in. However, Greenwood’s family said that initially only seven people were present when the patient was pronounced dead.

As the family waited, hospital officials checked with them at 15-minute intervals, informing the family that they would be given information soon. Hospital CEO Dr. Rob Mackenzie said he consulted with law-enforcement officials who advised the hospital to raise the security level and to prepare a private space to inform Greenwood’s family about the death. Mackenzie said the hunt for the space took 30 minutes.

Prior to the shooting, police were trying to issue a search warrant on Greenwood and arrest him. The victim resisted arrest, drove his vehicle into a police officer, knocked him down and accelerated toward the downed officer before he was shot by another officer.

The hospital has added security personnel and plans to make more changes in the coming weeks to ensure such an incident never occurs again.

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