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Posted on January 11, 2024 in Failure to provide care
On December 12th, 2023, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a complaint by a TriMet MAX train operator alleging that 26-year-old Jean Descamps was refusing to get off the light rail’s Orange Line. The responding deputies found Descamps moving slowly and covered in feces. He told the deputies that he had used drugs and was in pain. An ambulance was called to take him to Providence Milwaukie Hospital.
Although there was reasonable suspicion to believe Descamps was high on opioids, hospital staff did not order a drug screen or toxicology test. Instead, they administered Narcan, had him shower, and provided food. Hospital security then requested police assistance to remove Descamps from the emergency department, claiming that he was “being difficult.”
When Milwaukie police arrived at the hospital, they noted that Descamps did not appear to be responsive. Police relayed their concerns to hospital medical staff but were told that Descamps did not need further care, was faking his symptoms, and needed to be removed from the facility. Milwaukie police transported Descamps to Unity Center for Behavioral Health to receive further care. Upon arrival, officers noted that he did not appear to be breathing and attempted CPR. Descamps was declared dead at 11:31 p.m., just hours after the initial call by the TriMet MAX operator.
Shortly after Descamps’ death, Providence made a statement acknowledging their failure to provide adequate care. The Oregon Health Authority launched an investigation into the situation, notifying Providence Milwaukie Hospital that it was facing a preliminary “immediate jeopardy” notice. An “immediate jeopardy” notice is sent when a hospital’s failure to adhere to federal standards causes serious harm or death.