Medical examiner: Asphyxiation caused death of man at UPMC Shadyside

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A man who died at UPMC Shadyside in December after a struggle with a University of Pittsburgh police officer and hospital staff died of asphyxiation, officials said today.

The Allegheny County medical examiner's office noted that obesity and a weakened and enlarged heart also contributed to the death of Ricardo Martinez, 39, of Wilkinsburg. The office labeled his death an accident.

"We are sorry for the Martinez family's loss,“ a statement from UPMC read. ”UPMC's clinical and security personnel worked at all times to respond appropriately to patient care needs and a difficult security situation.“

Mr. Martinez's family could not immediately be reached for comment.

Pittsburgh police said at the time that Mr. Martinez died about 10:35 p.m. Dec. 9 at the hospital, roughly five hours after he first arrived. Police said Mr. Martinez went to the hospital seeking treatment for mental health issues, but his family said at the time that he went to the hospital at a doctor's suggestion because he reported feeling short of breath.

Conflicting accounts emerged from there, but at some point Mr. Martinez ended up on the floor with hospital staff. Police said hospital staff turned Mr. Martinez onto his back after he lost consciousness.


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