Death of a "complainer"

A woman discharged twice dies in the hospital during her third visit.

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  • Ambulance Driver

    From the article:

    “Where was their heart? Where was their humanity? … When Jose came in, everybody was just sitting, looking. Where were they?”

    Just guessing, but I’d say their heart and humanity were buried under a relentless flood of malingering drug-seekers interspersed among patients actually in need of emergency care.

    My heart goes out to this woman’s family, but I’d caution against demonizing the ER staff at this hospital based upon media reports.

    While the fact that the woman writhed on the waiting room floor for 45 minutes seems unspeakably cruel to most laypeople (and indeed, to me as well), I am betting that the ER staff in this story is not as lazy and apathetic as the story portrays them, nor is the unfortunate woman a totally innocent victim failed by the healthcare system.

    The truth probably lies somewhere between the extremes.

  • Anonymous

    How painful is a perforated large bowel with an infection? I would think, quite!

    Kevin, why did you see fit to title this post what you titled it? Can you honestly say that if you have a perforated large bowel with an infection that you might not make multiple trips to the ER or be rolling around in pain? Why not just title it what it was…”Patient dies in ER after being refused proper treatment”?

    Oh and this hospital is known to have problems when it comes to patient care. If you had read far enough you would have seen this:

    “Based on serious patient-care lapses, it has lost its national accreditation and federal funding.”

    I guess this was most likely a number 10 on the ole pain scale huh? To bad no one listened to it.

  • Anonymous

    “Why not just title it what it was…”Patient dies in ER after being refused proper treatment”?”

    Because this is a blog by doctors, for doctors, and he’s playing to his audience.

    If this story appeared on a patient rights blog, the headline would probably assault the ER.

    I’m with “Ambulance Driver”. Most likely, the truth is somewhere down the middle. But blogs aren’t about truth.

  • scalpel

    I think Kevin put “complainer” in quotes because that is how the ER viewed her….a bounceback with “nothing wrong with her.” I don’t think he was making an editorial comment.

    Bouncebacks with abdominal pain should be taken seriously. A return visit is a red flag to be more cautious. But I also agree with ambulance driver.

  • Happyman

    Ditto. I agree w/ambulance driver.

    While this case is tragic, every ER has its handful of “frequent flyers”, who are in & out every few days, with everything from social needs (meal, bed) to psychiatric disease to real medical/surgical emergencies. The unique beauty and value in emergency medicine is in distinguishing these extremes of urgency.

    And a hospital losing it’s national accreditation (what does that mean, exactly?) probably has little to do with the quality of staff, compared to the funding received to begin with. For example, plenty of BRILLIANT doctors & nurses work at the crappiest of crappy city hospitals, for the experience & rush of being in the center of it all.

    If I were involved in a true emergency, I’d much rather be at a city hospital than your local beverly hills private cushy country club hilton hospital.