A University of Minnesota student is alleging staff at the Minneapolis school did nothing while she suffered from an almost-fatal sepsis infection for 16 hours on the bathroom floor in her residence.
Genevieve Lizotte filed a lawsuit against UMN and HART Radius, the owner of the off-campus apartment where she lived, alleging that the “defendants were negligent and breached their contract with Plaintiff, allowing her infection to spread and leaving her near death.”
In April 2023, Lizotte had “major knee surgery” and went back to her apartment building called Radius near UMN’s campus to recover.
“By April 23, Plaintiff had become very ill with infection from her surgery. She called the CA [community adviser] on duty at 2:30 am to report that she had had surgery, her knee was very red, she had fallen, could not get up, and that she needed water. ‘Please help me,’ Plaintiff begged,” the lawsuit states.
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Students are directed to report medical care needs to CAs, according to the complaint.
UMN says it provides 24/7 staff assistance at its residence halls, including a residence director, who supervises the staff of community advisers (CAs) overseeing building operations, the lawsuit says.
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“The CA later claimed that she had knocked on Plaintiff’s door, received no response, and left,” the complaint continues. “Plaintiff remained on the floor for another 16 hours, with an ever-elevating fever while the infection spread throughout her body.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define sepsis as “the body’s extreme response to an infection,” which can be “a life-threatening medical emergency.”
On April 24, Lizotte’s family, who live more than two hours away from Minneapolis in Moorhead, Minnesota, became worried when they could not reach her and contacted the CA in her building.
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“Yeah, she called last night at 2:30 am saying she had fallen and asking for water, but she didn’t answer her door, so I left,” the CA allegedly told her parents. “We haven’t heard anything more.”
Worried about her well-being, Lizotte’s family contacted law enforcement to check in on her.
“When law enforcement entered Plaintiff’s apartment, they found her on the bathroom floor, unresponsive, having a seizure, barely alive, in a pool of blood, and with a fever of 106,” the lawsuit says.
Lizotte was rushed to a hospital, where she received treatment for sepsis and became comatose. Her family was told she “likely would not live” because “the infection had impacted her heart, lungs and brain,” according to the complaint.
While Lizotte was in a coma, the Radius residence director contacted her family.
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“The manager responded, ‘Well, when she wakes up, we need to go over the rules with Eve. She can’t just call CA at 2:30 am asking for water,'” the lawsuit states, adding that the residence director also allegedly said Lizotte would have to move out of the building because she had not signed a new contract.
Lizotte had eight different surgeries and spent eight weeks in the hospital due to the severity of her infection.
Now, the student is arguing that the school and HART Radius breached their contracts, acted with negligence, and are therefore “vicariously liable and responsible for the negligent conduct that harmed Plaintiff.”
Lizotte is suing for $50,000 in damages.
Fox News Digital has reached out to attorneys representing UMN, HART Radius and Lizotte.
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