Imagine not talking to your brother for years then receiving a call that he’s on life support in the intensive care unit. Once you and the rest of the family he has left gathers around and makes the difficult decision to take him off life support. Emotions are swirling as your family has discovered this devastating loss. But just as you prepare for funeral arrangments, he walks through the door…alive.
That’s right, alive.
Sounds crazy, right? But that’s exactly what happened to a Chicago family. A man died after wrongfully being taken off life support.
In May of 2019, a hospital social worker called the sisters of Alfonso Bennett and told them he was in ICU. Once they arrived at the hospital they couldn’t identify him.
“They had him on a ventilator and they had a tube in his mouth.” said sister Rosie Brooks.
Hospital staff told his relatives he had been beaten badly, especially in the face. He was found near 47th and Wabash on April 29.
The man reportedly has a background and is rarely in touch with his four sisters. One sister said a nurse told her police identified him through mugshots and not fingerprints because of budget cuts.
“You don’t identify a person through a mugshot versus fingerprints. Fingerprints carry everything.” said sister Brenda Bennett-Johnson.
The sisters said the man responded to commands by raising his hand, but never opened his eyes.
The sisters signed papers to take him off a ventilator and gave permission for doctors to perform a tracheotomy.
Then he went into hospice.
After making funeral arrangements, the sisters received a call from one of their other sisters.
“‘Brenda! Brenda! It’s Alfonso! It’s Alfonso! It’s Alfonso.’ I said, ‘You’re kidding!’ I almost had a heart attack.” Bennett-Johnson said.
And sure enough, the real Alphonso Bennett was alive and well and walked through the door.
“It’s sad it happened like that. If it was our brother and we had to go through that, that would have been a different thing. But we made all kinds of decisions on someone that wasn’t our family,” Bennett-Johnson said.
Police sources told local Chicago news station WBBM that fingerprinting identification is only used when an individual…