The family of a Chicago woman, who was found dead inside a health club bathroom stall, is demanding to know how their loved one was overlooked for two days.
A patron of Life Time Fitness noticed after her workout July 14 that the same woman appeared to have been in the same bathroom stall for about two hours and notified an employee, police say.
The employee went into the bathroom, got no response from the patron and went underneath the stall, finding Patricia Austin, 78, who was unresponsive.
Employees began performing CPR, but when paramedics arrived, Patricia Austin was pronounced dead.
The last time Patricia Austin checked in to the club was about 48 hours before she was found, police say. She was not reported missing.
Patricia’s son Terrence Austin says the family is devastated and has many questions regarding the incident.
“We don’t know how something like this can happen,” Terrence Austin said.
The Austin family’s attorney, Mark Novak, filed a petition Wednesday asking for the health club’s surveillance tapes from July 12 to July 14 as well as information about the club’s procedures and protocols.
Though Patricia Austin’s death was ruled natural by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, Novak says the final autopsy report has not been issued, and there are still questions, including whether the woman could have been saved if she was found earlier.
“Maybe she would be missed during one of the cleanings, but… is it unreasonable that they would close that club with that woman still in that bathroom stall? Yes, to me, that is unreasonable,” Novak said.
A spokesman for the club says the 100,000-square foot facility is filled with clients and staff around the clock and is only closed between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. for cleaning.
Further, the club has a policy to respect the privacy of people in bathroom stalls, the spokesman says.
“We are terribly saddened by this tragedy and continue to have our heartfelt thoughts and prayers with the family,” the company said in a statement.
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