Brittany Hightower’s story — The medical negligence that caused her untimely death

Brittany Hightower

Brittany Hightower, a Texas-based 22-year-old woman, was a sickle cell anemia patient who had founded a non-profit organization called Slay the Sickle Cycle to advocate for the disease. She worked at the American Red Cross of Greater North Texas. On December 24, 2022, she was admitted to the John Peter Smith Hospital in Houston after having severe stomach issues.

A week later on January 1, 2023, she passed away from her illness. Brittany’s family members accused the hospital and the police of racially-charged negligence and mistreatment, saying that she could have been saved with timely medical intervention. The family, who lost both Brittany and her mother within a span of a few weeks, are seeking justice for her death.

A sick Brittany Hightower was denied treatment by the hospital, the police threatened to arrest her for criminal trespassing

When Brittany Hightower was brought to the emergency room, she was put in an isolation ward in compliance with the hospital’s COVID-19 protocol. But instead of receiving medical care, she was told to leave the hospital premises for “faking” her disease and was discharged for no reason.

She pleaded with the staff but was refused treatment and the hospital police were called to remove her. In a video shared on TikTok by Brittany’s family members, two police officers could be heard telling her that the staff “did not want her there” and to leave immediately. One officer said:

“They don’t want to treat you right now, for whatever reason. That’s nothing I have to do with.”

They later threatened to charge her with criminal trespassing and arrest her if she did not voluntarily leave the emergency room and suggested that she contact the higher authorities. An evidently sick and distraught Brittany begged the police to let her stay, saying:

“I don’t care why you are here; this is not good treatment. So, if they [the hospital] want me to leave, I want to file a police report of mistreatment because this is wrong… I am sick, I don’t need to leave. If I leave, I could possibly die. They are ignoring my complaints completely.”

Brittany allegedly had a previous altercation with a resident nurse who later refused to treat her

As for why the hospital refused to treat her, reports say that Brittany had a previous disagreement with a registered nurse (RN). Apparently, the nurse has taken a disliking to her since then and did not believe that she was truly sick.

Brittany was subjected to verbal abuse by the staff and the police at the hospital despite her deteriorating health condition. Her family believes that the two parties deliberately denied helping her for racial and prejudicial causes.

Following her untimely death, Brittany’s family is looking for accountability from the hospital for the events that transpired, it is likely that they would press legal charges against them. Her death is deemed to be a result of medical negligence and could have been easily avoided with adequate care.

In Brittany’s own words, she was a sick patient who was treated like a criminal.