Woman dies weeks after being left inside assisted living van

Woman dies weeks after being left inside assisted living van

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The woman who suffered a heat stroke after being left inside an assisted living facility’s van has died, the attorney representing her family confirmed.

According to Attorney J.P. Sawyer, 83-year-old Dorris Mitchell passed away at her home Tuesday morning. The family is in the process of making arrangements for Mitchell. Her funeral is expected to take place Thursday.

Her family released the following statement:

"Our family grieves today for our mother, Doris Mitchell. Only weeks ago, our mother experienced an ordeal that none of us could possibly imagine. She was locked in a closed van, alone, for over six hours on a day on which the heat index exceeded 105 degrees. The physical and emotional trauma of what she went through has broken our hearts.

When our mother got to the hospital, she had severe heat stroke and failing kidneys. Her fever was so high, they had to pack our 83 year old mother in ice. We have been praying for a recovery, but the episode was ultimately too much for our mother to bear.

It is hard for us to stop thinking about those horrible six hours. There is physical evidence to suggest that our mother, who is unable to walk, tried to escape the van. She could not. She was traumatized by the very people we trusted to take care of her.

We want to thank everyone for their messages of love and prayers for our family. It has meant so much during this extremely difficult time. Thank you."

A lawsuit filed on behalf of Mitchell against Elmcroft of Montgomery LLC detailed the June 19th incident where she was found inside the van and later diagnosed with heat stroke and other medical complications.

The lawsuit alleged negligence and outrage. Following her death, Sawyer says the family plans to amend the lawsuit to add wrongful death.

Elmcroft released this statement following Mitchell’s death:

“We are deeply saddened and extend our sympathies to the resident’s family during this difficult time. We continue to fully cooperate with local authorities and state agencies in their investigation and are committed to taking any additional necessary steps to promote resident safety and deliver quality services.”

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