Archives for September 16, 2006

Death in Illinois ER Ruled a Homicide

CNN: Death after two-hour ER wait ruled

WAUKEGAN, Illinois (AP) — A coroner’s jury has declared the death of a heart attack victim who spent almost two hours in a hospital waiting room to be a homicide.

Beatrice Vance, 49, died of a heart attack, but the jury at a coroner’s inquest ruled Thursday that her death also was “a result of gross deviations from the standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in this situation.”

Vance had waited almost two hours for a doctor to see her after complaining of classic heart attack symptoms — nausea, shortness of breath and chest pains, Deputy Coroner Robert Barrett testified.

She was seen by a triage nurse about 15 minutes after she arrived, and the nurse classified her condition as “semi-emergent,” Barrett said. He said Vance’s daughter twice asked nurses after that when her mother would see a doctor.

When her name was finally called, a nurse found Vance slumped unconscious in a waiting room chair without a pulse. Barrett said. She was pronounced dead shortly afterward.

(emphasis added)

Chest pain triaged to the waiting room is really not a good idea.

The Chicago Tribune adds a little to the ‘what happened next’ question:

Vance was seen by a triage nurse at 10:28 p.m. According to hospital records, she complained of nausea, sweating and chest pain of a level she rated as a ’10, with one being the lowest and 10 being the highest,’ Barrett testified. ‘The triage nurse classified her condition as ‘semi-emergent,” he said.

At 12:25 a.m., an emergency room nurse went to the waiting room and called for Vance, but got no response, he said. Vance was leaning on her side on a waiting room seat, unconscious and without a pulse.

Doctors rushed her into the emergency room, administered CPR and put Vance on intravenous blood thinners, Barrett said. At about 12:55 a.m., doctors were able to generate a weak pulse. About 10 minutes later, the pulse stopped and doctors restarted CPR. Vance was pronounced dead at 2 a.m.

No decisions have been made about criminal charges, yet, according to the articles.

FindLaw has a copy of the Coroner’s Jury Verdict form.

Thanks to reader Andy for the tip.

Funny Link at Capsules

Brain surgeons say rocket scientists aren’t all that bright

Here’s the latest from the Borowitz Report:

Rocket Scientists Not as Smart as Originally Thought
New Findings in Study Commissioned by Brain Surgeons
Rocket scientists, long considered the gold standard in intelligence among all professionals, are not nearly as smart as originally thought, according to a controversial new study published today by the American Association of Brain Surgeons.

The study, which appears in the organization’s monthly publication, Popular Brain Surgery, is entitled “The Intelligence of Rocket Scientists: Myth Versus Reality,” and suggests that rocket scientists’ reputation for smartness is largely undeserved.

“It does require a superior intellect to function as a rocket scientist,” the article concedes. “Having said that, though, rocket science is not brain surgery.”

There’s more, and it’s funny.

BBC: WHO backs DDT for Malaria Control

BBC: WHO backs DDT for malaria control

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reversed a 30-year policy by endorsing the use of DDT for malaria control.

The chemical is sprayed inside houses to kill malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

DDT has been banned globally for every use except fighting disease because of its environmental impacts and fears for human health.

WHO says there is no health risk, and DDT should rank with bednets and drugs as a tool for combating malaria, which kills more than one million each year.

This is a no-brainer, and it’s horrible it took this long to release DDT for more malaria control.  If a million Americans were dying of malaria a year, this would have been done two decades ago.