A former contracting Autopsy Specialist was bitten by a rat while working in Providence Hospital’s morgue. The rat came out of the body’s cavity and bit her. The woman, Doris Kennard, contracted Rat-bite fever, MRSA, Sepsis and suffered post traumatic stress disorder, severe depression and many seizures along with a host of other ailments. Kennard was pronounced dead on one occasion and has been put on life support three times. She still suffers from outbreaks of rat fever where she has to be quarantined and as of late, is experiencing seizures much more frequently than before.
Kennard, who ran the morgue for two years, stated the morgue was infested with rodents that would scratch and eat on cadavers which were stored there. The cooler at the hospital would constantly break down causing bodies to decay and attract rats from a nearby trash compactor.
Rats were actually gnawing inside of the bags and leaving the remnants of where they were eating to get inside of the bags. ‘They were going into places like the anal area, the vaginal area, the pubic area of the males, that’s where they would get in.
Kennard has had to undergo a number of examinations and numerous hospital stays. She remains traumatized. The former contractor said the rats were so vicious not even traps set near the morgue could immobilize them. Gregory Lattimer, Kennard’s attorney, said rats have run amok at this hospital for decades; Providence has consistently tried to cover it up from day one. Kennard said,
It could have been anyone in my family, and every time I think about the way those people were treated and doing with a hospital like Providence Hospital, nothing like this should ever happen in any hospital in the United States.
As recent as January 2014 health inspectors closed the gift shop located inside of Providence Hospital due to rodent dropping and the observation of a bag of food which had been chewed on by some sort of pest. However, this was not the first time Health inspectors shut down the gift shop; in December 2013 Lori’s was closed citing five violations including rodents.
In 2012 Kennard sued the hospital for emotional distress. According to D. C. Superior Court records, on July 18, 2014 she was awarded $237,000 by a Jury in the civil case against the hospital. Hugh W. Farrell, an attorney for the hospital said, “There is no truth to the allegations” and released the following statement after the verdict:
We vehemently disagree with the verdict and will file an appeal. At the time of the alleged incident, a thorough investigation was completed by the Hospital and the District of Columbia Department of Health which revealed no truth to the allegations. There was absolutely no evidence of the alleged rat activity. We look forward to correcting this verdict on appeal.
Although Kennard was awarded a victory in the case, it did not include recoupment for medical expenses. Also, in lieu of the hospital’s appeal the victim will not receive any of the awarded monies in the foreseeable future. Her insurance will not cover any of the medical bills associated with the incident and she is now swimming in over $3,200.000 in debt.
Kennard’s monthly expense for medication exceeds $2,000 and has to be paid for in cash. Family and friends have contributed as much as possible over the course of nearly four years but their funds are depleting. As a result they have set up a “Go Fund Me” account in her honor which allows a community of supporters to assist with her recovery. One family member stated,
She has a long road ahead of her in regards to her emotional and medical disorders with no monies in sight to take care of the day-to-day medications and services she needs just to survive. She needs help.
Doris Kennard, a former contracting Autopsy Specialist, was bitten by a rat while working in Providence Hospital’s morgue. She contracted Rat-bite fever, MRSA, Sepsis and suffered post traumatic stress disorder, severe depression and many seizures along with a host of other ailments. Kennard is still very traumatized by this experience and continues to suffer from outbreaks of rat fever and multiple seizures.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)