Six months after reaching a $4 million settlement with Denver Health Medical Center for the wrongful death of Emily Rae Rice, attorneys for the family of the former Herman’s Hideaway waitress are poised to collect a $3 million settlement with the city.
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As I wrote in "Rae of Sunshine," a March 2006 article, Emily went out for some smokes while intoxicated early on the morning of February 19 of that year. She subsequently got into a car accident and was taken to Denver Health, where doctors cleared her to be booked into jail on suspicion of drunken driving. While behind bars, Emily cried out in pain and even fainted, but was ultimately ignored by nurses and guards, who told her to stop being dramatic. Other inmates pleaded for assistance for Emily, but none was ever given, and after spending a night in agony, she died. An autopsy revealed that Rice had a seven-inch cut to her liver, a lacerated spleen and three broken ribs. Denver City Council is expected to approve the $3 million settlement which, if granted, will be one of the largest in Denver’s history. But the attorneys say that even more important than the money is a change in protocol at both Denver Health and the jail -- measures that have come to be known as “Emily’s Rights.” The mourning family hope that their daughter’s fate, while tragic, will ensure that nothing like this ever happens in the city of Denver again. -- Adam Cayton-Holland