CNN: Death after two-hour ER wait ruled homicide
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.
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.