A real emergency

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When you want to start a hospital, the government makes you get a "certificate of need" to show that the facility is really necessary.

What about when the hospital is a problem? Shouldn't there be a "certificate" for that, too?

Consider Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital in Los Angeles.

How bad is the place? This bad: Observers twice called 9-1-1 to rescue a woman from the hospital's emergency room last month!

Now, that's bad.

What's worse is that 9-1-1 dispatchers refused to send paramedics to rescue Edith Isabel Rodriguez, who lay on the emergency room floor bleeding from her mouth, writhing in pain and dying of a perforated bowel for at least 45 minutes on May 9.

The federal government has given the county-run hospital 23 days to correct problems there or risk the withdrawal of funding, which would surely close it.

They should have been given 23 minutes. For a hospital in a major American city to watch a woman die on the floor and not lift a finger is criminal.

The county agency that runs the hospital says, "We at the department believe strongly that the community needs this hospital." Yet, it has been cited more than 12 times in less than four years for patient deaths that resulted directly from inadequate care.

Moreover, we rather doubt the "patients' rights" postings and staff counseling the hospital has reported since the incident will be enough. Consider Edith Isabel Rodriguez's experience:

When police brought her in and said she was complaining of stomach pains, the nurse said, "You have already been seen, and there is nothing we can do." When Rodriguez, 43, slipped onto the floor and writhed in pain, the nurse said, "Get off the floor and onto a chair!"

For the next 30 minutes, hospital staff stepped around her - and even cleaned the floor near her while ignoring her.

Her presence wasn't even noted in the emergency room log.

This is one of the worst nightmares of neglect and indifference we've ever heard of in American health care. These people shouldn't be counseled; they should be arrested and charged with criminal neglect of a patient.

And the hospital should have to get a "certificate" showing it's doing more good than harm.

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habersham100
177
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habersham100 06/30/07 - 05:37 am
0
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This isn't a shame, it's

This isn't a shame, it's CRIMINAL! I agree that the whole place should
be shut down, and maybe even burned to the ground. The employees of the
ER should be prosecuted and incarcerated... They will no doubt, point
to all the good they do and have done. That's fine, but one unnecesary
death is entirely too many, and the behavior of the 911 department is
also criminal. Did it have anything to do with the fact that the
patient had a name that was Hispanic in origin? Was she illegal? It
simply doesn't matter. That is not for them to judge or police. Their
job is to treat and try to heal people, not step around them on the
floor as they bleed to death. The fact that it is a county hospital
makes one wonder if they receive(d) Hill-Burton funds, and if they do/did,
that's federal money. Does the Administration - allegedly so
pro-immigrant - just not care? Or are they just blind to the situation
because the state packs a powerful wallop in the general elections? If
this is common practice, the people would be better off getting "help"
from the street corner while they live on that same street. God help
them all...

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 06/30/07 - 07:37 am
0
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There is no doubt that this

There is no doubt that this is not the way to treat patients, but what I'm wondering about is the other part of the story. What isn't reported here? What has led to this cavalier attitude by the staff? Something is missing from this story.

johnsmith
9
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johnsmith 06/30/07 - 08:09 am
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I agree, Patty...I find it

I agree, Patty...I find it hard to believe that ER staff were sitting there with 20 open treatment rooms, doctors sitting around playing Scrabble, and nurses doing their nails, while laughing at someone who was dying in front of them. More likely, gross incompetence in a few key positions aggravated the existing scarcity of resources in that hospital. Don't get me wrong--somebody almost certainly should go to jail for this. But don't miss the signs, either: I bet that a thorough investigation of this hospital would reveal overloaded doctors, underfunded facilities, state mandates for treating patients that lead to a far heavier load than the hospital can accomodate...or, to put it more concisely, a microcosm of the future under Hillarycare...

Carleton Duvall
6308
Points
Carleton Duvall 06/30/07 - 09:02 am
0
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I think there is more to this

I think there is more to this story than meets the eye. It is inconceivable to me that this happened, however, under any circumstances.

intheknow
16
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intheknow 06/30/07 - 09:37 am
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Could not miss taking a shot

Could not miss taking a shot at Sen. Clinton. So, since she is not in office now, would this be President Bush's fault? @JohnSmith

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 06/30/07 - 09:56 am
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in the know, I believe the

in the know, I believe the shot was at Mrs. Clinton's idea of health care, not at her personally.

intheknow
16
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intheknow 06/30/07 - 10:07 am
0
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ok.

ok.

Da Voice Inside Your Head
7
Points
Da Voice Inside Your Head 06/30/07 - 03:26 pm
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Be prepared for more of this

Be prepared for more of this as the government cuts funds for reimbursement for medicare and medicade.Hospitals are flooded with the uninsured, who thanks to cut in Primary Care funding are getting sicker and sicker. ERs get flooded with people who could be seen and treated at a lower cost at a clinic leaving the ERless time and resources to treat the folks who really need ER care. If this story turns out to be true as written it is criminal.But many things have or are changing in Healthcare. The move from Public to Not for Profit status has led many reductions in "Charity Care" and a move to strengthen the "Bottom Line".More funding for Primary Care is needed. This country wastes too much money not to have at least basic healthcare for it's poore citizens.

johnsmith
9
Points
johnsmith 06/30/07 - 06:24 pm
0
0
Actually, it's the

Actually, it's the _expansion_ of programs like Medicare that leads to medical facilities being swamped. The more people you send to the doc under these sorts of programs (which require treatment without compensating the facility for the true cost of the treatment), the more you get facilities trying to meet the unfunded mandates. All the legislation in the world does not create funding out of thin air. intheknow, I wasn't "blaming" Clinton, any more than I would "blame" Bush, because to date, most of the stupid legislation that impairs health care delivery is state-centered. The Feds' role (beyond the insanity that is Medicare/Medicaid) has largely been limited to flashes of brilliance like not allowing me to buy health insurance from a company outside of GA, giving us 50 different Blue Cross companies, for example...sheer genius... I refer to Hillary because she pushed (and is now pushing) for government to cover more "poor folks." Da Voice...a family of 4 on $80k/year are "the poorest citizens"? I'm just saying, you can do whatever you like to the PRICE of healthcare, but if you want the best minds to put their best efforts into it, you cannot change the COST

WorriedAboutOurFuture
16
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WorriedAboutOurFuture 06/30/07 - 07:59 pm
0
0
IMO, indifference and this

IMO, indifference and this kind of heartless non-treatment of a patient is not the result, specificially, of funding issues or even ethnic or racial issues. It is the character and compassion (or lack of it) of the people sitting at the triage desk, the treatment gateway, that controls this kind of horror. A close family member of mine went to MCG's ER with crushing mid-sternal chest pain, and because he had a decent blood pressure he was stuck in a chair off in a corner for 45 miniutes before I arrived and raised holy hell. They at least could have set him in sight of a nurse in case he went down, but the triage nurse didn't give a damn about him, even though he is an MCG employee with complete medical coverage (to confound the discrimination argument). It was small comfort that the ER attending was stunned at the negligence, and agreed there would have been big legal troubles had he died.

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