NYC woman mistakenly agreed to take a stranger off life support thinking he was her brother

Ra'eesah Manack
Jan 29, 2019
04:53 P.M.
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An NYC woman accidentally agreed to take a stranger off life support after thinking he was her brother.A Bronx hospital is being sued by an NYC after she says she accidentally agreed to take a stranger off life support. She says she was under the impression he was her brother. 


The man had the same name as her brother. He had a tube in his mouth and a swollen appearance making it difficult to identify if it was actually her brother.

Doctor prescribing medicine | Shutterstock


She would later discover the man was actually a stranger. Her brother turned out to be arrested and sitting in jail.The New York City woman sat at the bedside of her dying brother's hospital bedside for days and eventually authorized doctors to stop life support. She began arranging his funeral when officials revealed there had been a massive mistake.

Stethoscope in the hands of a doctor | Shutterstock


The man turned out to be a stranger with a similar name to her brother. Shirell Powell is now suing the Bronx hospital for the case of mistaken identity.

She is claiming damages for being put through more than a month of unnecessary grief. She states the process was heartbreaking and unfair.

Medications at a hospital | Getty Images


"That is my baby brother, so it was really hurtful," Powell said. "I was worried, hurt, crying, screaming, calling everybody. It was a horrible feeling."

Her actual brother, Frederick Williams was alive. Unbeknownst to his family, he had been arrested and was in a city jail.

Medicines | Getty Images


An NYC woman accidentally agreed to take a stranger off life support.

The mix-up began on July 15. According to Powell's lawsuit, Freddy Clarence Williams was admitted to the hospital unconscious with brain damage following a drug overdose.

Patient laying on hospital bed | Shutterstock

The hospital contacted Powell after checking their records and seeing her brother, Frederick Williams had been treated there before. Unfortunately, it was the wrong Fred Williams.

Powell authorized doctors to withdraw life support on July 29. The city's medical examiner only discovered the mix up on August 16.

"I nearly fainted because I killed somebody that I didn't even know. I gave consent," said Powell.