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Sleep study causes man’s death

FOX MEDICAL TEAM: Sleep Study Death:


A sleep study to determine if 25-year-old Brandon Harris suffered from sleep apnea turned out to be deadly.

Harris was sent to the Emory Sleep Center at Wesley Woods according to his doctor’s referral. The video camera designed to capture Harris sleep patterns recorded the last few hours of his life.

The video was provided to FOX 5 by his family. His family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit as well as proposing a new bill for tougher regulations of Georgia’s sleep centers.

“We think that the people who his care was entrusted to should have acted quicker and they should have acted better to save his life,” said Sen. Vincent Fort.

Harris, who was mentally handicap, knew he was having difficulty breathing. He was overweight and suffered from congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, diabetes and high blood pressure. The combination of these made it risky for him to lie on his back for extended periods.

In the video, Harris began gesturing about 4.5 hours into his sleep study. The technologist did not come out. Instead they offered reassurance that he was okay. When they did come out to help Brandon sit up, he collapsed and died before he got to the ER.

Brandon’s family hopes that by passing the Brandon Harris Act that incidents like these will never happen again. The act proposed would make it a mandatory requirement that the sleep centers have 24-hour staffing by a licensed sleep specialist or licensed professional nurse, mandatory CP training/certification for sleep technologist, and require defibrillators to be placed in each room.

Emory Healthcare did not comment on the bill. However, they claim that Harris received “appropriate” care for his medical condition.

They also said in a written statement last year that the sleep center has performed 15,000 sleep studies since the 1990s. This is the first time they have encountered a death in their centers.