Archives for October 31, 2007

How in the world does this happen?

I read about this and wonder:

Untreated ER patient dies at Olive View

The 33-year-old man, reporting pain in his chest and left arm, waited more than three hours, then stepped outside and collapsed.

latimes.comBy Jack Leonard and Charles Ornstein
Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
October 31, 2007
Christopher Jones arrived at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar on Sunday complaining of chest pains.
Jones, 33, was told to sit in the waiting room until it was his turn. He didn’t receive a simple test to determine whether his heart was functioning properly, a measure that is standard practice nationally in cases of chest pain, Los Angeles County officials said.
After more than three hours, Jones got up, walked outside, collapsed face down on the pavement and died within minutes.

That’s horrible.  I cannot fathom how this happens, though I wonder if their EKG at triage for chest pain has an age limit he didn’t meet, through no fault of his own.  If it did then, I’ll bet it doesn’t now.

I hear this from nurses, doctors, Paramedics: “30 year olds don’t have heart attacks”, and I tell them politely that yes, they do.  In our ED last year we had a 16 year old with an MI.  Consultants like to tell us we overtest in the ED (‘why get a troponin on a 25 year old with chest pain?’ they ask, with a condescending tone and a ‘you’re another dumb ER doc’ look;) they never seem to remember the positive ones.

Chest pain is usually not life threatening, and we make that determination after the workup is complete, not before. 


How far is Olive View from the recently closed King-Drew?

The incident, which is being investigated by state regulators, is the latest case of questionable patient care delivered at Olive View, a public hospital run by the county. The California Department of Public Health has cited Olive View for medical and other problems five times this year.

Sounds a little too familiar…