The Peace Corps has agreed to pay $750,000 to the household of a 24-year-old volunteer from Illinois who died in 2018 in East Africa after the company’s medical doctors misdiagnosed a case of malaria, a regulation agency introduced Tuesday.
Bernice Heiderman of Inverness, Illinois, died in January 2018 on the island nation of Comoros after texting her mom that the native Peace Corps physician wasn’t taking significantly her complaints of dizziness, nausea, fever and fatigue, mentioned Adam Dinnell, a associate on the Houston-based regulation agency of Schiffer Hicks Johnson PLLC.
The physician instructed her to drink water and take aspirin, mentioned Dinnell, whose agency filed a federal lawsuit for damages in Chicago on behalf of the Heiderman household.
The girl’s mom, Julie Heiderman, instructed The Related Press in a phone interview the household feels that with the settlement, the Peace Corps has taken some accountability for her daughter`s dying and realized it had handled the household “horrifically.”
The company speaks of its “subtle medical care” for volunteers when the truth is “they employed somebody who didn’t acknowledge malaria.”
“The Peace Corps was terrible,” she mentioned, refusing to talk to the household with out its legal professional being current and never returning the physique to the household till days after prolonged household had gathered in Illinois for the funeral.
Her daughter had wished to hitch the Peace Corps for the reason that time she was in junior excessive, Heiderman mentioned.
“She felt very patriotic about serving her nation in the way in which she selected,” the mom mentioned.
The Peace Corps issued a press release saying it “continues to mourn the tragic lack of Volunteer Bernice Heiderman.”
“She was a exceptional Volunteer who was admired by her college students and group in Comoros. . . . The well being and security of our Volunteers is of the utmost significance to our company, and we stay dedicated to making sure that each Volunteer has a protected and profitable expertise,” the assertion mentioned.
Comoros is within the Indian Ocean between Mozambique and the island nation of Madagascar.
A autopsy take a look at revealed Bernice Heiderman died of malaria, Dinnell mentioned. An investigation by the Peace Corps` inspector normal concluded the physician and the company’s head medical officer in Washington ignored directives and did not comply with commonplace protocols, similar to ordering a easy blood take a look at that might have detected malaria, which is well treatable with remedy, he mentioned.
The inspector normal`s assessment additionally discovered that Heiderman had not been following her required malaria suppression remedy regime for a number of months previous to her dying.
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