Two Chicago sisters agreed to end life support for a man they were told by police was their brother – only for their real sibling to turn up alive and well.
On May 13, Rosie Brooks received a phone call from Mercy Hospital in Chicago informing her that her brother, Alfonso Bennett, was in intensive care.
Brooks and her sister, Brenda Bennett-Johnson, went to the hospital to check up on their brother.
‘They had him on the ventilator, and they had a tube in his mouth,’ Brooks told WBBM-TV.
Alfonso Bennett was thought to have been placed on life support in a Chicago hospital, but was later found to be alive and well after the man in question was taken off a ventilator by Bennett’s sisters last month, according to a report
Chicago Police informed the hospital that the man on life support was Alfonso Bennett, but the sisters weren’t so sure.
‘They kept saying CPD identified this person as our brother,’ Bennett-Johnson said.
Brooks was told by hospital staff that the man was badly beaten in the face.
Police found him on the street on Chicago’s South Side naked and without any ID on April 29.
A nurse told the sisters that police identified the man as Alfonso Bennett, who had a criminal record, using prior mugshots.
Police told the hospital that they did not use fingerprint to definitively ID the man because of budget cuts.
‘You don’t identify a person through a mugshot versus fingerprints,’ Bennett-Johnson said.
Brenda Bennett-Johnson (left) and her sister, Rosie Brooks (right), said hospital staff told them that police used old mug shots to determine that the man on life support was indeed their brother
‘Fingerprints carries everything.’
The man on life support was responding to commands by raising his hand. But he never opened his eyes.
When it became apparent that his condition was deteriorating, the sisters agreed to allow the hospital to take him off life support.
They also agreed to let doctors perform a tracheotomy – an incision in the windpipe made to relieve an obstruction to breathing.
Soon afterward, the man was placed in hospice care.
‘Within minutes he was ice cold,’ Bennett-Johnson said.
After he died, the sisters made funeral arrangements. They bought a suit and a casket to prepare for the burial of the man they were told was their brother.
Sometime before the funeral, they received a phone call from one of their sisters.
‘She called my sister Yolanda to say, “It’s a miracle! It’s a miracle!”’ said Brooks.
‘“Brenda! Brenda! It’s Alfonso! It’s Alfonso!” I said, “You’re kidding!”
The man who was eventually taken off life support (above) was found badly beaten on the streets on Chicago’s South Side in late April. He was eventually taken off life support and placed into hospice before he died
‘I could have almost had a heart attack,’ Bennett-Johnson said.
Alfonso Bennett was alive and well. He had just paid one of his sisters a visit.
‘It’s sad that it happened like that,’ Bennett-Johnson said.
‘If it was our brother and we had to go through that, that would have been a different thing.
‘We made all kinds of decisions on someone that wasn’t our family.’
The man who was removed on life support and whose body was taken to the morgue was later identified through fingerprints.
Police are now searching for the man’s family.
When asked to comment, Mercy Hospital said: ‘The family did identify this patient as their brother.’
CPD says it is taking the matter seriously and is investigating.