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Woman dies in ER lobby as 911 refuses to help - Page 2

post #31 of 42
Quote:
I have never heard of such of thing, it is infuriating.
Happens all the time. It nearly happened to my family. My father was raced to the ER for extreme pain. He was screaming. He had major back surgery 3 weeks earlier, but the pain was in his abdomen.

He was in the ER for several hours before anyone bothered to see him. There was 3 patients total, including him. I don't know what the other two were in for, but my dad was screaming. The doctor and nurses were ignoring him. My dad actually gave my mother his last words and gave messages for the rest of the family. He really thought he was about to die.

Eventually, there was a shift change and a new doctor came in. She went straight to him, and said "Well, first, lets get you on morphine for the pain so you can talk to me. Then we're running the following tests..." She pushed him through the tests, made sure everyone paid attention to him, and quickly discovered MULTIPLE blood clots in BOTH his lungs. He was immediately given blood thinners.

Honestly, he could have died there if there wasn't a shift change.

Oh, and this all wouldn't have happened if his surgery doctors had bothered to notice that he was on blood thinners or bothered to test for WHY his blood was thick (turns out that it's a genentic defect). In all likelihood, they didn't because the insurance company wouldn't let them. I still think they're at fault since they took an oath to help people and they know that the insurance company is not going to do the right thing, but it's partly the insurance companies fault for putting them in the position.

And to top it off, our insurance company has decided that they don't want to pay for it. Our health care system is SERIOUSLY messed up. And yes, if the insurance company holds their line, we're going to sue and tie up government money in more lawsuits. I'm all for privatization, but I think the government really needs to step up in health care.
post #32 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ping View Post
There was a girl there thinking she was having a miscarriage. It took her 5 hours to be seen. They would not take her over to the OB side or for an ultrasound when she got there because she was not 16 wks along or higher.
This happened to me, too. My boyfriend at the time had to make a big scene just to get me in a room. I never looked at hospitals the same way again.

I saw this story on the news last night. What hell the family must have gone through.
post #33 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by icklemiss21 View Post
It also says she was diagnosed days before with gallstones and repeatedly went back to hospital complaining of pain and got pain meds, not to sound callous, but I can easily see where a nurse would think that she is a junkie after more meds or attention seeking after so many visits in a short time when they have a 'minor' ailment on file as being diagnosed days before.

Not that it excuses the fact they ignored her lying on the floor vomiting blood, but it is easier to see why she would have been ignored in the beginning.

As much as the hospital obviously needs to shape up, it (according to articles) is in a poor & minority area which generally means a lot of people with no insurance and probably a lot of gang problems which means a very busy hospital. While her family does deserve some compensation for what happened, I don't think it should cripple the hospital to the point where they can not help the people they DO help presently.
Perhaps when she was diagnosed with gall stones it was a mis-diagnoses or a rush diagnoses just to get her out of there. A few years ago I had a perforated ulcer, and I was in severe pain. I even ran a high temp with it, and the ER doctor I saw, said that I was just running a fever because it was HOT outside, and told me if I had insurance then they would bother to give me tests and find out for sure what was wrong. Without insurance they refused, and sent me home. A few days later, I was almost at deaths door, because the ulcer sent poison through out my entire system. So, chances are that YES she was in severe pain, and the pain meds weren't helping her, an that's why she kept going back.

There is NO EXCUSE, none what so ever for the medical staff watching that woman laying on the floor spewing up blood. That is a very clear sign that she was desperately ill. I was very clear to any medical person that the woman needed immediate medical attention. NO EXCUSE! Those people who ignored her writhing in pain, and vomiting blood should be charged with murder! A person goes into the medical profession to HELP people, not to ignore them and watch them die on the floor of their hospital ER waiting room.

I'm from Los Angeles. I KNOW that hospital is in a bad area, and I know that they have had lots of problems in the past, but still there is NO EXCUSE. I'm wondering if she was treated that way, because she was a Hispanic lady. Most of the people who go to that hospital are minorities. However, I doubt had she been black or white, she would have been left to die like she was. It is just heartbreaking, and it infuriates me.
post #34 of 42
Bab, both times before I had surgery I was required to sign a paper saying that I was informed by the surgeon to discontinue any blood thinners 5 days prior to surgery.


I am firm believer that it is a personal responsibility to make sure you receive adequate care in the hospital. If you don't believe you are receiving adequate care ask for a patient's advocate. I had to throw a big fit when my father was in the hospital and when I asked for an advocate, things improved immediately.
post #35 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb View Post
Then pray tell - who should be held responsible for her death?

Some low-paid 911 operator? Yes, they were callous (and didn't the article say that they already fired those operators?), but I would bet that they do have a standing procedure that you can't call an ambulance to go from one hospital to another. Not when there are people who have just as serious medical conditions who are not in a place where they could, theoretically at least, get medical attention.

The second person who called 911 about her said that there were hospital staff member(s) looking at her and not doing anything. Obviously, more than one person tried both within and outside of the hospital to get her help. I have to wonder if she had insurance or not, and if that played a role in whether or not the staff was willing to do anything expeditiously.

I'm not saying the doctors should be sued - they probably didn't even know that she was there. But that hospital and the staff is responsible for her death. Why shouldn't they be sued? It wasn't one person who failed her, it was many, and apparently that hospital has had issues like this before.

BTW, most hospitals have federal funding as a supplement to their income. But they are not state run facilities, they are privately owned and operated, however there are laws that say they cannot refuse to treat someone due to lack of means of payment. It is a business, that the government supplements so that they don't all just shut down because there are so many who just don't pay.
Amen I could not have said it better myself.
post #36 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by GingersMom View Post
IMO, that hospital is ALREADY crippled, and what a lawsuit will do is bring DIRECT attention to the level of care provided by that hospital. Sometimes it is not about money, it is actually about JUSTICE. Perhaps that hospital needs to be closed, and their funding sent to a healthcare facility that actually HELPS people. THAT is the bigger picture.

This woman lay on the floor for 45 minutes vomiting blood while nurses stepped OVER her and housekeeping cleaned up the floor AROUND her.

IMO, no human deserves to be IGNORED like that in an ER where they went to seek lifesaving CARE.

I have had HORRIBLE emergency room experiences, and the ONLY time I have gotten proper care in the ER is when I was carried there by an ambulance. Walk-ins, no matter how severe their health issue are ALWAYS made to wait an extremely long time.

There is absolutely no human justification for allowing this woman to die on the floor of a hospital ignored and unattended. You cannot place the blame on the 911 dispatchers: THE WOMAN WAS ALREADY WHERE THEY WOULD HAVE TAKEN HER.

I agree with your statements 100%

Someone laying on the floor VOMITING BLOOD should be seen and helped ASAP. I think the hospital is very much to blame for this death. The 911 operators may or may not have been following policy, I am not familiar with their rules, so couldn't say, but the hospital definitely should have helped her. That's why she was there in the first place!
post #37 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by HopeHacker View Post
Perhaps when she was diagnosed with gall stones it was a mis-diagnoses or a rush diagnoses just to get her out of there. A few years ago I had a perforated ulcer, and I was in severe pain. I even ran a high temp with it, and the ER doctor I saw, said that I was just running a fever because it was HOT outside, and told me if I had insurance then they would bother to give me tests and find out for sure what was wrong. Without insurance they refused, and sent me home. A few days later, I was almost at deaths door, because the ulcer sent poison through out my entire system. So, chances are that YES she was in severe pain, and the pain meds weren't helping her, an that's why she kept going back.
Obviously it was a mis-diagnosis (or she did have gallstones but this was a problem on top of the gallstones) but the problem with so many hospitals today is people use ER like a walk-in clinic / doctor's. They get so many hypochondriacs in there that they start to weed them out. I have been to the ER both here and in the UK with my sister, she has bad asthma and gets asthma attacks, she keeps a doctors letter at all times explaining what meds she can have etc, and because she explains things and is having trouble breathing, usually gets seen in minutes.

There is a hospital is close to her home and her neighbour was there once when we went in for a nubiliser (which her doctor can not administer so she has to go to the hospital) because her son had scraped his knee. She was screaming about the blood and had it covered with a red towel and wouldn't let go, so the nurses assumed the towel was red from blood. They got seen because of her outburst and wasted valuable hospital time, she constantly does this rather than wait for a doctors appointment or cleaning up minor cuts and scrapes herself, when she went in with something more serious, she complained that they made her wait for 2 hours.

They just have to put a stop to it at some point because it is a drain on their resources, and as far as they knew, she had seen several doctors who all prescribed something for gallstones - and you would be surprised what some people (obviously not this woman) will do to get a doctors attention.
post #38 of 42
Ok, without having had the opportunity to read all responses I am just going to qualify my own response a bit. I do believe that the hospital is partially liable - partially. I believe much more firmly - as I said in an earlier post, Heidi, to answer your question - that the front-line staff, the nurses, the paramedics and even the clerical staff who saw her lying there, all of whom did nothing - are who are immediately responsible for this death. Not the hospital ITSELF. Hospitals are full of thousands of staff, many of whom are very, very responsible, ethical and committed, and some of whom are really awful at their jobs, and couldn't care less.

When an emergency department is as overcrowded and in an area where there probably are a lot of people turning up pretending to be sick, asking for pain meds, there are gunshots, car accidents, stabbings - the kind of thing that inner city ERs have to cater to constantly - the staff probably did have jaded attitudes, and as the police were involved with this woman that also could have influenced things. It shouldn't have. But it might have.

It's a chicken or egg argument, in a sense. There isn't enough money to pay for beds, adequate amounts of staff, or facilities, and then the staff get overworked, are exhausted, have to make impossible decisions on priority, they become negligent....what a vicious circle. This woman should have been seen immediately. She was vomiting blood - this is a very serious sign. However, nobody knows what kind of other patients were being seen, who had even more serious conditions - again, this is where impossible decision making comes into play.

Public hospitals are notoriously disorganised in ER departments and usually that is because the staff are absolutely pushed to beyond their limits. It is predominantly a funding issue, then it becomes a management issue, but on the face of it, it becomes a staff issue.

Now, the staff here who ignored this woman are the people liable. The staff are the ones who should have to be accountable. But I also agree with what Cindy said in that accountability also lies with the patient. This woman wasn't in a state to look after herself, but she had people with her, did she not? They did everything they could and they were ignored - not by the hospital, but by the staff.

It saddens me that so many people's first response is vengeance. Sue them! Make them pay! How is that going to help? My first response would be, examine the issues, talk to the people, find out what went wrong and why, find out why the staff had reached a point that they behaved as they did. Instead of taking precious millions from the hospital out of revenge, money should be being put into that hospital to improve conditions so that these deaths don't happen. In a litigious society people become bent upon making other people pay. I would think the focus should be on fixing the underlying problems, so that these kinds of tragedies become a thing of the past.
post #39 of 42
KitEKats4Eva! -- you hit a lot of points head-on in terms of the reality of what medicine is like these days.

That woman shouldn't have been neglected the way she was, but it also shows how bad the current system is. Some hospitals make money, but public ones usually lose money. You have to treat everyone -- whether they can pay or not -- and most people don't. You wouldn't believe the extent of abuse the system gets, e.g. people who fly in from other countries for a angioplasty, then leave w/o paying -- who's paying for that? Uninsured (might not be their fault) & illegals using the ER as their own PCP office -- these pts can't be refused -- everyone has to be seen. That takes time & money & the hospital is not fairly compensated.

In the LA case, the facts aren't out yet, but that lady was failed on multiple levels. However, I highly doubt that any doctor ever mans the reception desk/triage area; and there's no way as an MD you'd walk by anyone vomiting blood -- if anyone did, yeah, they should be disciplined. And while we're pointing fingers, how callous was everyone else in the ER? Why didn't they start yelling for help in an unignorable way? Hey, I'm with all of you. I think people who are sick should be helped. We just need a system that makes it possible for us to be our best.

P.S. Thank you for making the points that you made, esp. that doctors are undervalued these days (Have you ever been yelled at by a pt who says he feels like he's dying & then wants to know why you can't bring him a hot dinner in the ER while you're trying to help other gravely ill pts in an ER w/ 100 capacity stuffed to 160? Well, it sucks.) .

P.P.S. The image of rich docs is a vestige of the 1980s & private practice boutique docs. If anyone is in it for the $, they should get out. Here's a breakdown of expenses:

4 yrs college x 40,000/yr = $160,000
4 yrs medical school x 50,000 = $200,000
Not including expenses, including $1000/yr in exam fees, or living expenses
Resident salary: 3-10 yrs training (dep. on field) = salary $30,000-$40,000 (so some nurses make more than residents!); then about $100,000+
Costs: mandatory malpractive insurance at $10-150,000/yr.
Age: Most people are in their 30-40 when they finish & can start to payback loans & such.
post #40 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitEKats4Eva! View Post
the front-line staff, the nurses, the paramedics and even the clerical staff who saw her lying there, all of whom did nothing - are who are immediately responsible for this death. Not the hospital ITSELF. Hospitals are full of thousands of staff, many of whom are very, very responsible, ethical and committed, and some of whom are really awful at their jobs, and couldn't care less. .
and they get there paychecks from guess who, Once again the hospitial
this at fault for not doing its job.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KitEKats4Eva! View Post
It's a chicken or egg argument, in a sense. There isn't enough money to pay for beds, adequate amounts of staff, or facilities, and then the staff get overworked, are exhausted, have to make impossible decisions on priority, they become negligent....what a vicious circle. This woman should have been seen immediately. She was vomiting blood - this is a very serious sign. However, nobody knows what kind of other patients were being seen, who had even more serious conditions - again, this is where impossible decision making comes into play.

Public hospitals are notoriously disorganised in ER departments and usually that is because the staff are absolutely pushed to beyond their limits. It is predominantly a funding issue, then it becomes a management issue, but on the face of it, it becomes a staff issue..
so what your saying is cause they come from a poor area, then its ok to let some people slack off, and not hold them or there company up to doing there jobs and saving a life.. ok cook got that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitEKats4Eva! View Post
It saddens me that so many people's first response is vengeance. Sue them! Make them pay! How is that going to help? My first response would be, examine the issues, talk to the people, find out what went wrong and why, find out why the staff had reached a point that they behaved as they did. Instead of taking precious millions from the hospital out of revenge, money should be being put into that hospital to improve conditions so that these deaths don't happen. In a litigious society people become bent upon making other people pay. I would think the focus should be on fixing the underlying problems, so that these kinds of tragedies become a thing of the past.
hmm, so justice is now equal to vengeance? hmm not in any class i took.
vengeance would be killing the staff and burning down the hospital. justice is shutting down a hospital that is not doing its job, if you had looked at the imformation, you would see that.
post #41 of 42
kIT,all the employees (and there were many) that saw that woman on the floor dying ARE the hospital. They represent the hospital, they ARE the hospital.


I Have never seen so many excuses in my life for this hospital, admit it, they blew it and worse they watched a woman die, did not lift a finger and it didn't bother them a bit. I think that is much more than jaded.
post #42 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98 View Post
so what your saying is cause they come from a poor area, then its ok to let some people slack off, and not hold them or there company up to doing there jobs and saving a life.. ok cool got that.
Um, when did I say that? Jeez, way to put words in my mouth. I actually said the opposite of that.

Quote:
hmm, so justice is now equal to vengeance? hmm not in any class i took. Vengeance would be killing the staff and burning down the hospital. justice is shutting down a hospital that is not doing its job, if you had looked at the imformation, you would see that.
No, justice would be, as I said earlier, to get to the bottom of the whole process with this patient, find out who is directly responsible, have something sorted and fixed. Prosecution? Yes, absolutely. Financially decimating an already struggling hospital? No. Justice would be to ensure that this never happens to another patient again. Millions of dollars is not going to bring this patient back, and in fact might very well put other patients at serious risk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
kIT,all the employees (and there were many) that saw that woman on the floor dying ARE the hospital. They represent the hospital, they ARE the hospital. I have never seen so many excuses in my life for this hospital, admit it, they blew it and worse they watched a woman die, did not lift a finger and it didn't bother them a bit. I think that is much more than jaded.
I am revising and have revised my opinion to some degree, as you and others have stated that this is not this hospital’s first infraction, but there needs to be investigation and resolution, rather than just a medicolegal claim that could ruin the hospital completely.

When you say it needs to be shut down, well, I can’t agree with that. The ER of any hospital is but one part of a hospital’s many organisms. To further cripple an already struggling hospital to the point where it closes, most definitely puts many, many more lives in danger and those lives include all the patients who are not ER patients but general admission (ward) patients who are receiving care and treatment from the hospital. Closing it down would do nothing but put extra pressure on (most likely) already stretched facilities at all the other hospitals around the same area. This is not a good solution.
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