Jane Lee was a 27-year-old woman with autism who was non-verbal. Her brother, Jason Lee, described her as functioning “like a two to three-year-old.”
The family is suing Scripps Mercy Hospital for medical malpractice following her death.
According to hospital records, Ms Lee, who was living in a group home at the time, was admitted to Scripps Mercy on October 2, 2021 due to “altered mental status” and “essential agitation.”
Two months earlier, Ms Lee was admitted to the same hospital where her severe peanut allergy was documented. Despite the records reflecting the allergy, she was given a peanut butter sandwich.
She became unresponsive and was transferred to the intensive care unit where she died eleven days later on October 13, 2021.
Seven days after she was allegedly given the sandwich, Ms Lee was evaluated by Dr Brian Modena, a specialist in allergy-immunology. His report reads in part:
Since she was knowingly exposed to peanut butter, and has a known peanut allergy, then she likely had severe anaphylaxis to the exposure that resulted in vomiting and the drop in BP soon (within minutes likely) after eating the sandwich.
Said Henry Peacor, the lawyer representing the Lee family in the suit:
It’s a hospital that clearly documents a patient’s known peanut allergy and then proceeds to give that patient a peanut butter sandwich, and there’s just no excuse for that. None. Period. Whatsoever.
Said Jason Lee in an interview with ABC 10News:
It’s really frightening to think that, like an institution like a hospital, that’s meant to keep really great records… was just not set up to actually support and care for my sister.
I understand that systems can fail, but I think there is an additional layer of the lack of empathy that I think we felt from the hospital and some of the doctors
Here is the ABC 10News Report of the incident: