Paralyzed Teen Sued to Force Her Out of North Carolina Hospital

( – The Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist in Winston-Salem, N.C., is suing Alexis Ratcliff, 18, to force her to leave the hospital.

Though Ratcliff has lived at the hospital since she was 13 and wants to leave, she does not want to move to the nursing home in Virginia, where the hospital wants her to move. A quadriplegic on a ventilator, Ratcliff wants to stay in North Carolina, close to her family and Salem College, where she has a full academic scholarship. However, since she refused to move to the nursing home, the hospital is suing Ratcliff for trespassing.

According to the hospital’s lawsuit, Ratcliff’s health is stable and does not require the level of care provided to her by the hospital. Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist’s Vice Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Kevin High, has stated that people should not be living at the hospital long term, adding that there is a wait for beds at the hospital, especially in the ICU.

Ratcliff has been a quadriplegic since her neck was crushed in a February 2008 car crash. Ratcliff’s father had been holding Ratcliff, who was 18 months old, in the front seat of a car driven by her mother, who was high on drugs.

The doctors at the hospital saved her life, and she was sent home to live with her family. Nurses and aides were sent to the family’s home by North Carolina’s Medicaid agency to care for Ratcliff. However, in January 2019, when her grandfather fell ill and moved into assisted living, Ratcliff was forced to move into the hospital.

Though the hospital has attempted to discharge her out of state previously, a court halted the order until she was 18. In September, the month after she turned 18, the hospital filed its lawsuit, and in November, Ratcliff’s attorneys won a court order blocking the hospital from transferring her out of state. She is continuing to try to get the state to set up home care for her, as it has for other people with disabilities similar to hers.

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