This hasn't been pitted yet? Woman dies in hospital when 911 refuses her (Major RO)

Wow and Wow. And I’m not even one to really get all heated over RO type things.
But this just takes the case. So many people are at fault in this I can’t even count then.

Woman dies in hospital after staff not only ignores her and 911 refuse to help…twice…but police arrest her.

Died while being wheeled out, apparently, by the cops.

What happened here? Reading it, it seems like a lawyers dream case.

I think there’s a lot of people to blame in this one. I really don’t know where to begin.

I mean, I can understand if they were busy at the hospital…and even if the 911 disbatchers couldn’t do much more since she was already at a hospital. But surely the situation could have been handled better than it was?! :dubious:

Sorry if this thread exists somewhere already, although I didn’t see one yet here in the pit.

Seriously. It takes a lot for me to cry out about RO, but this one has even me stunned.

I guess I don’t know what the hell 911 was supposed to do.

She was at a hospital. The hospital, and possibly the police, have culpability, but what more could 911 do? Dispatch an ambulance to take her to the nearest hospital? It’s none of their job to judge quality of care.

This is my question, too. Not defending anything, but my expectation is that if and when I call 911, they will dispatch an ambulance that will come and take me to the hospital. This woman was already at the hospital. What was 911 supposed to do? Dispatch an ambulance to take her . . . to the place she already was?

I don’t know anything about the rules or regulations of ambulance care, but I would guess (gingerly, this being the Straight Dope and all) that the ambulance company takes you to the local hospital or the closest hospital that can take you – not to the hospital of your choice. They are not responsible for the quality of care you receive once you get to the hospital; they are just responsible for getting you to the hospital. And they did that. So, yeah, the hospital earns a great big WTF??? But I don’t see what else the 911 dispatcher or the ambulance company could have been expected to do.

I knew before reading the article that this must have happened at King-Harbor (formerly King-Drew). That place has a long and very bad history. They were lucky to still be open even before this happened. It is very sad, but unfortunately not that unexpected there.

Well, it’s hard to know, but it seems that dispatchers argued with several people, and that this hospital was already warned about its lousy care.

I recently was in a local ER where a man fell to the ground and was ignored until other ER patients complained. Meanwhile, obvious drug deals were being conducted by other people. The floor was dirty and the service was very slow, despite the seriousness of the presenting problem. I’m still trying to compose a collegial formal complaint letter, and won’t use that ER again.

She was fat and viewed as a complainer, so the hospital staff showed depraved indifference to her and allowed her to die when then had a duty of care. In my opinion, they murdered her and the police officers who chose to take her into custody rather than to get her to treatment or compel the hospital staff to treat her, are accomplices.

The hospital in this case barely deserves the name. I recall it had lost its accreditation. Wanting to go to another place for treatment was quite reasonable, and since she was passed out, I can understand why she and her associate could not themselves get her there. This reminds me of the Ravenswood case where someone died because they were just outside the emergency room. They were too close to the ER to be transported by ambulance and too ill to move themselves. IIRC, some of the staff watched them die from the door of the ER after refusing to attend to them. In that case though, because the would be patient was not in the facility, the staff did not have a clear duty of care. Their behavior still outraged the community and prompted an investigation.

Ambulances do carry patients from one hospital to another, when the hospitals want patients transported. This can be for a variety of reasons including one hospital being better equipped to deal with a patient’s condition, or more willing to treat a patient with limited ability to pay. In this case no ambulance was called because the patient and or her associate wanted to be treated possibly at another facility, not the hospital staff. They apparently believed she needed or deserved no treatment. It is very scary that there seems to be no obvious course of action in such a situation. She was quite ill, and needed treatment. Those who she sought treatment from refused to treat her, but she could not make her own way to another facility, so she was allowed to die. It seems there should be a way out of such a predicament. It makes sense that she would seek help from 911, they are the gateway to emergency responders.

I’m no expert either, but 911 also gets you the police. A human was dying at the hands of the hospital. Calling 911 seems reasonable to me.

Yeah, that first part was what I was taking issue with (RE: the 911 dispatchers). I mean, according to the article, the second dispatcher all of claimed “It’s not an emergency.” and then, when the bystander said "May God strike you down … " replying with “No, you’re the one.”?

I dunno. Maybe my outrager meter is being more sensitive, but that second dispatcher seemed like a bit of an asshole to me.

It’s so bizarre - it’s as if she was treated like a consumer, not a vulnerable individual who needed help.

Those of us who live in the L.A. area have been hearing horror stories about King-Drew for years. It’s a completely disfunctional institution that has defied numerous attempts to get it cleaned up and functioning properly. It should probably have been closed down long ago. The problem is that it’s the main hospital for South Central Los Angeles and there’s strong resistence to dropping the axe. Part of the opposition is rational – there’s a big swath of poor neighborhoods that NEED access to health care and a trauma center – and part of it is emotional – the hospital in it’s heyday was a source of pride for black community. There’s no easy solution to a bad situation.

It’s easy to see that she was obviously gravely ill after she died, but we don’t know how she presented to the triage staff. Bleeding from the mouth isn’t necessarily immediately life-threatening, and pain gets you nowhere with ER staff. We don’t know anything about the entire situation there in that ER - she might have been the least serious patient in there at that moment. My outrage meter isn’t going off that strongly. Maybe it’s because I have extremely lowered expectations as a result of Alberta-style healthcare. :rolleyes:

“Patients have called 911 from their beds because they thought nobody was there.” - Barbara Williams, night shift nurse at Dominican Hospital, Santa Cruz, CA; Reader’s Digest, June 2007

Yeah, I’m hard pressed to see how the second 911 operator could be considered anything more than a sorry bastard. I’ve known people in similar positions and you’re trained to deal with the explosive emotions sometimes being bandied about by emergency situations. You do not react in any way, only as a professional. He gets zilch sympathy for me.

Apart from my personal feelings of how heinous what the staff of the hospital, et. al., had done, this has taught me a couple of lessons… 1) to make sure that I have some way to haul my ass out if necessary. Offering some bucks to some burly guys in attendance to dump me in the parking lot if necessary. 2) Having someone with me to run a fucking video camera, so that after my inevitable death, whoever can sue the slime into oblivion and completely out of existence. That said, I naturally also would’ve presumed that 911 could help. Shit, they even treat criminals first whenever they’re in transit and become ill, right? Dear Og, I hope several people have their sleep disturbed… forever.

As others have noted, this woman would have been better off almost anywhere else; going close to home does not mean it’s the best place to go. But then there’s the issue of insurance, who’s going to pay for an ambulance trip farther away, and so on.

  We have had  some unpleasant experiences, though not even close to the one in the OP,  in our local ER.    Next time, I'll call the ambulance company directly and have whoever it is hauled farther away to a place I know is better. If the insurance company bitches about not going close to home and won't pay for the mileage, fine.   I'd rather shell out the $ than risk crappy care or lack of care.

Then again, this is not possible for everyone to do.

    To the second dispatcher:  if a patient is writhing on the fucking floor in pain, bleeding out, and being completely ignored while she is most likely dying, how is it not an emergency?

Ex-EMT checks in. The behavior of the hospital is inexcusable short of being in the middle of a massive multi-casualty incident that landed on them 30 min before this, they obviously have a history of poor quality care, so par for course. If they were meh, shit happens, like it or not, you can’t always save everyone, even in the hospital.

As far as the EMS side, I probably would not have transported willingly either, wanna see a lawsuit.

[suing lawyer]
My clients wife was at the hospital where she may have recieved care if not for these ricky rescue wannabes moving her.
[/suing lawyer]

Taking a patient out of the hospital for care elsewhere in a life threatening situation is totally bass ackwards from anything EMS normally does. Interfacility transfers are not unknown, but its very rare for an unstable patient. If I walked into that waiting room and was even thinking of transporting her, I probably would not have unless my field sup/ops manager was standing right next to me or at least 3 other people I trust heard him give the order over the radio.

Paramedics are not equipped for critical care of patients for much more than an hour or so, too many variables and not enough scope of practice. An ER RN has way more tools and skills for dealing with something like this than just about any medic.

while the 911 dispatcher’s conduct may have been less than desirable, as other have said there was little else 911 could do. The patient was already at a hospital/emergency room. The fault here should be pointed at the medical staff of the hospital and their obvious misdiagnosis of how serious the woman’s condition was and what immediate treatment she required.

This is perhaps also a quality of care issue related to emergency rooms being overcrowded by people seeking treatment for non-emergency conditions.

At the admitting desk of emergency rooms should be a medically person well trained in triage. At least this should be the case when the place gets busy. Taken as a whole an emergency room is like a disaster scene. The underlying disaster is distributed both in space and time but all the victims wind up in the ER. Some people need immediate attention, some can’t be saved no matter what, and some can wait a while.

This hospital has a history of bad management and careless operation and so far no one seems able to fix it.

Yeah, I don’t feel much outrage at 911 either. I mean, dude is calling 911 to make the doctors do something? He’s the one standing in the ER, not the dispatcher. He’s the one in position to do something about it. “No, you’re the one,” seems like a pretty tame comment, to me.

Since the hospital has a bad reputation for care, my immediate question would be why the 911 operator didn’t post haste then link up with the hospital and alert them to the situation, and that it was being called in for attention. Did this happen? Seems like a simple course of action.

That would be an extremely hard call for a 911 dispatcher to make. The 911 dispatcher has to put their trust in the hospital professional medical staff and their ability to prioritize treatment. So that’s anything but a simple course of action. Calling 911 was a waste of time. There is no way they would ever dispatch EMTs to pull someone from a treatment center. Inner-hospital transport for patients under treatment only takes place at the request of the medical providers.

Other have made comments about the hospital having a bad reputation and providing poor service. That may very well be the case but as long as it’s a licensed facility the 911 service most likely is bound by contract to utilize them.

Again, the liability here is with the hospital medical staff and their triage/diagnosis of the patient as compared to others that were seeking emergency treatment at the same time.