Indian Health Service sued for patient death in Great Plains Area

Shiree Wilson was only 24 years old when she died a week after giving birth at the Quentin N. Burdick Memorial Health Care Facility on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. Photo of Shiree Wilson from Elick Funeral Home. Photo of Quentin N. Burdick Memorial Health Care Facility from American Indian Cancer Foundation / Facebook

A young member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians died a week after giving birth at an Indian Health Service facility in January 2014.

Doctors at the Quentin N. Burdick Memorial Health Care Facility knew of special conditions facing Shiree Wilson, who was 24 at the time. Her son had to be born through Caesarean section and she was experiencing a persistent cough and a high white blood cell count during her stay at the hospital.

But Wilson's mother, Christine Fluhrer, says IHS physicians and staff failed to address her daughter's condition. A week after giving birth, she returned to the hospital and was given decongestants and oral antibiotics, a complaint in federal court states.

A day later, on January 22, 2014, Wilson collapsed at her home and died. An autopsy revealed she had severe pulmonary congestion and edema and her mother believes she should have been admitted to the emergency room rather than being discharged.

"Defendants were careless, reckless, and negligent in the care and treatment of Shiree and departed from accepted local and national standard of medical practice for physicians," the complaint, which was filed last November, states.

The federal government, three IHS physicians and IHS staff are named as defendants in the lawsuit. The Department of Justice filed a response on March 9, denying all of the allegations. A status conference is being held on Monday to discuss the case.

Get the Story:
Fluhrer sues IHS for wrongful death of daughter (The Minot Daily News 4/10)

Join the Conversation