As a burial vault was lifted Wednesday from a freshly dug grave at Historic Woodlawn Cemetery, Kayla McCadney nodded.
“That's it,” she said quietly.
Inside was the body of her only child, Iesha McCadney, 34, who died Aug. 7 at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center. Her body was exhumed to investigate the cause of death, as ordered by Lucas County Coroner James Patrick.
The death certificate, signed by a hospital doctor, listed the manner of death as “undetermined,” Dr. Patrick said. By law, he said, doctors can sign a death certificate only if the manner of death is listed as “natural.”
Because the certificate was flagged by the Bureau of Vital Statistics and the family expressed concern that an autopsy was not done, Dr. Patrick said, “I thought the best way to handle this was to do an investigation.”
Ms. McCadney alleges doctors at St. Vincent were negligent in handling her daughter's case. She said her daughter was taken by ambulance to the hospital about 2 p.m. on Aug. 7. She says that not long after her daughter was admitted, doctors were able to determine that she needed “emergency dialysis,” which, Ms. McCadney said, wasn't started until 10:19 p.m.
Her daughter died a short time later.
Dr. Patrick said Iesha McCadney was at the hospital less than 24 hours. When she died, the coroner's office was contacted by hospital personnel who said the woman died of diabetic ketoacidosis, a “recognized potentially lethal problem,” Dr. Patrick said.
The hospital official reportedly told the coroner's office the hospital was willing to sign the death certificate, which the coroner's office approved. Dr. Patrick said his office was not told that there was a possible drug toxicity in her body from a diabetes prescription, which would have made a better case to do an autopsy.
By law, coroners are to perform autopsies when people die by criminal or violent means, by accident, or by suicide, Dr. Patrick said. Autopsies are also done when someone dies while appearing to be in good health or under suspicious or unusual circumstances, he added.
Sara Bednarski, a spokesman for Mercy, said Ms. McCadney was brought to the St. Vincent emergency room on Aug. 5 “with multiple health issues.” Ms. Bednarski said “dialysis was rapidly administered,” and the patient died on Aug. 7.
She said the entire treatment was in-patient. She said hospital personnel reviewed the case, and the protocol and procedures “were deemed appropriate.”
Ms. McCadney said she has not reached out to the hospital because “I'm too angry.” Ms. Bednarski said hospital officials would contact the family.
Dr. Patrick said it could be weeks before autopsy results are available. It's not clear, at this point, what information will be gleaned from the test results:
“With an exhumation, you never know until you do it."
Because Dr. Patrick ordered the exhumation, the cost will come out of his office's budget. He estimated that the process costs “in the neighborhood of a couple thousand dollars.”
Ms. McCadney said she was happy the exhumation was done and said that, once she knows for sure why her daughter died, she will be able to find peace.