Victim’s Voice: Mother demands answers from hospital regarding son’s death

“This was malpractice and a misdiagnosis. He was murdered by this hospital.” ~Mother

A 19-year-old former state wrestling champion died without prior medical problems and his mother is demanding answers from the hospital.

Malakai Mills entered the North Oaks Medical Center emergency room with a primary diagnosis of sepsis with an unknown organism on June 3rd.

Malakai Mills was admitted that same visit. His mother Iesha Mills says a nurse practitioner, who was not assigned to care for her son, changed his diagnosis to HIV.

Iesha Mills said since then, she has not been able to locate the nurse practitioner who put the HIV diagnosis. Mills said the nurse is no longer listed on the hospital’s website.

Malakai Mills

Mills said her son was released five days later without treatment of the unknown organism in sepsis or HIV.

“He was not diagnosed correctly,” Iesha said. “He was not well when he was released. The day my son was released, North Oaks went on lockdown for covid. They needed the bed so they released him.”

Mills said her son was given two blood pressure medicines and two antibiotics that he was prescribed to take for 20 days.

The mother said the teen weighed 170 pounds when he arrived at North Oaks on June 3. On July 27, he returned to North Oaks weighing 137 pounds, according to his mother.

“As soon as the antibiotics ran out, his weight declined,” Iesha Mills said “He went back to North Oaks on July 27 with multiple organ failure and 10 percent heart function. He died on July 29.”

Her teenage son’s death was a huge problem but it wasn’t the only problem Iesha Mills said she had with the process.

“North Oaks would not give us an autopsy,” she said. “They’re saying he died of pneumonia and adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), so there’s no need for an autopsy. They’re saying one isn’t necessary, although they haven’t given a cause of death and the physician’s final summary is not in the 1,847 pages of medical records I have.”

A spokesperson for North Oaks laid out the hospital’s guidelines for determining a need for an autopsy.

  • If the patient’s physician believes the cause of death is undetermined, the physician can request an autopsy. Physician-requested autopsies are at the hospital’s expense.
  • The coroner mandates autopsies in cases required by law. In addition, the coroner can require an autopsy if the coroner believes the cause of death is undetermined. The autopsy would be conducted at the expense of the coroner’s office.
  • In cases where autopsies are not found to be necessary by either a physician or coroner or are not required by law, the family may request an autopsy at their expense to determine the cause of death.

Mills said she tried to have a private autopsy done in Louisiana but could not find a place that wasn’t overbooked after reaching out to nearly 40 facilities.

“I’m being denied an autopsy I have the money to pay for,” she said. “What are they (North Oaks) trying to hide?”

She said she got a private autopsy done in Arkansas a few days ago. Her son’s body had been at North Oaks for 14 days and started to decompose because the hospital didn’t have the proper refrigeration to store his body.

“They told me they didn’t have the proper refrigeration to store his body and that they don’t have a license to store him,” she said. “They were pressuring me to pick a funeral home to release my son’s body. They told me ‘your son is decomposing and you don’t want that do you?’ He was only 19 years old with no previous medical problems before his visit on June 3.”

Mills said at one point, her son’s body was transferred to a coroner’s office to get cremated without her permission.

Malakai’s body was sent to the crematorium on Aug. 16. Mills said the private autopsy provided the results she needed to answer the question of how her son died, but she was not ready to share the results publicly. Instead, said she wanted to highlight her experience with North Oaks so that others won’t have to go through the same thing.

“This was malpractice and a misdiagnosis,” she said. “I feel like my son was discriminated against because of his sexuality. He was murdered by this hospital.”

Unfiltered with Kiran did reach out to North Oaks Hospital asking for a comment on the report, but the public relations coordinator said, “Please be advised that North Oaks Health System does not provide interviews regarding matters that involve specific patients.” They did provide the hospital’s guidelines on when an autopsy is conducted.

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