Tuesday, June 12, 2007

DEATH IN THE E.R. LOBBY

Edith Isabel Rodriguez died of a perforated bowel last month in Los Angeles. Tragic, but not news.

But her death is a national story for several reasons. Two people separately called 911 as Rodriguez was dying and begged for paramedics to help her.

Both callers were spurned by emergency dispatchers -- because Rodriguez was already at a hospital. In the lobby of the emergency room. Bleeding out for 45 minutes as medical staff ignored her and a janitor mopped the blood Rodriguez was vomiting.

A report in the Los Angeles Times details the two 911 calls. The first came from Rodriguez's boyfriend, who was told paramedics wouldn't respond to a hospital.

The second call was made eight minutes later. A different dispatcher fielded the call from a woman, identified by the Times as "apparently another patient" at Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital:
"Ma'am, I cannot do anything for you for the quality of the hospital there," the dispatcher said. "Do you understand what I'm saying? This line is for emergency purposes only ... 911 is used for emergency purposes only."

The woman replied, "This is an emergency, mister."

The dispatcher cut her off. "It is not an emergency. It is not an emergency, ma'am."

"It is," the woman said.

"It is not an emergency," the dispatcher replied.

"You're not here to see how they're treating her," the bystander said.

"OK, well, that's not a criminal thing. You understand what I'm saying?" the dispatcher said. ...

The 2 1/2 minute call ended on a hostile note.

"May God strike you too for acting the way you just acted," the frustrated caller told the dispatcher, just before 2 a.m. on May 9.

"Negative ma'am, you're the one," the dispatcher responded before disconnecting. ...

[Sheriff's Capt. Steven M.] Roller said the Sheriff's Department does not have a policy for responding to calls for medical aid from hospitals. He said the two 911 calls weren't linked by dispatchers because neither was deemed to merit a response, and therefore neither was logged in the computer as calls for service.
The second 911 dispatcher received written "counseling" for being rude, according to the Times. Edith Isabel Rodriguez was buried Tuesday.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

where to begin...in 21st century America people should not die in hospital ER waiting rooms. people do die, there are times people are so sick nothing can be done, but hook them up to an IV with painkillers at least. clearly a case of neglegent homicide on the part of the hospital and the sheriff's department.

greg glauber csc17@glauber.com said...

how can we even let this happen in todays society. if it were any of us who were lying on the emergency room floor we wouldn't want that awful treatment. what kind of human beings could even think of leaving her. this is another major awful testiment that we as an american society have become numbed to violence, death and trauma. if actions arent taken to keep the hospital staff who put her through that from ever seeing patients again it would be completely maddening and absurd. i believe god is the only one who can make the final judgement but my oppinion is that this can not go without reckoning. that hospital staff and those dispatchers should keep their names as privatre as possible. they know what they will get if their names ever go public.

Anonymous said...

BUY YOUR WORD, SAY YOUR WORD
Tell a friends sayyourword.com

Anonymous said...

Don't blame 911...blame the hospital emergency room who ignored this poor woman! Can you imagine...needing 911 in a hospital ER???

thinkingthings said...

Would this lady have been left to die if Mrs. Rodriguez was Mrs. Hilton, or Mrs. Johnson, or Mrs. CaucasianName?

I wonder.

Anonymous said...

This sorry event hardly serves as a “testiment that we as an american society have become numbed to violence, death and trauma,” so much as it is an indication of the state of basic healthcare services in the United States.

Anonymous said...

I say blame every medical professional involved including the 911 operators. The 911 operators could have called the hospital ER to see what was going on. Any hospital staff that walked around, or by her should have addressed the situation. I work in a hospital and thank GOD it a much more caring environment that would not let this happen.

I believe this is close to premeditated murder not negligence.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to this story. What a sad commentary on the state of health care in America. An enterprising news producer might see if this story could be localized, check ER waiting room times, raise the issue AGAIN that ERs are the only portal for health care many people can access.

Anonymous said...

The 911 dispatcher who blew off and hung up on the caller needs to be fired. And serve jail time. What a horrible person!

Jack said...

The wife suspects that she didn't have insurance. Curious.

Anonymous said...

If this woman had been Paris Hilton, the ER staff would have whisked her off and given her immediate treatment in a private room. But she was Edith Hernandez....a single mom who was most likely on Medicaid. I pray our hospitals in Springfield NEVER end up like this.

I've been a cancer survivor for almost 9 years -- a single mom on Medicaid -- and had great doctors, nurses and medical care. The fact that I was on Medicaid didn't make a difference whatsoever in the quality of treatment I received.

In Ms. Hernandez's death, the hospital staff is to blame....the 911 operators are to blame. But if Governor Blunt continues to cut Medicaid benefits in Missouri, this could very well happen here. Pay attention, Governor Blunt. Pay attention.

Anonymous said...

King-Harbor used to be known as King-Drew Medical Center. Established as a black hospital - for blacks, by blacks. All black doctors, etc. And they let an hispanic woman bleed to death on the floor in the waiting room, refusing to see her again, the cops refusing to help her get to a real hospital. The lady who made the second call was black - it's not all about race - but the black hospital staff never took this hispanic lady's pain seriously for some reason. The 2nd dispatcher should do jail time.

Anonymous said...

Hello to all,

I currently work as an “International Patient Advocate" for person afflicted with "Adhesion Related Disorder (ARD)" and though this disorder has not been confirmed as a condition that Edith Isabel Rodriguez had, in my opinion it very well could be. It is my intentions to secure Mrs. Rodriguez's autopsy report which will offer to me a more comprehensive look into her prior medical/surgical history, which, if there is anything of a surgical nature existing in that history, will give credence to the probability that "post surgical peritoneal adhesions" were in fact a cause of her pain and multiple ER visits for pain. I can say with certainty that being on analgesics it is no wonder Edith had a bowel obstruction from constipation, which is a side affect of such a medication, and for a person who has a bowel compromised from adhesions, obstruction is a medical emergency which can trigger the results typical of what Edith Isabel Rodriguez experienced -death surrounded by ignorance and hostility within the medical arena. Tammy Wynette died under similar circumstances, and her death was directly related to ARD. Others have as well, unfortunately. I invite, and encourage you to please visit this web site: http://www.adhesionrelateddisorder.com for more information on ARD.

I am hoping that anyone reading my post, you will not mind taking this unfortunate situation and loss of a young mother a step further by acclimating yourselves to a most hideous medical condition that rivals appendectomies, heart bypass surgery and hip replacements in our country, and throughout the world!"

Anonymous said...

I am sure that this story has been completely skewed-it is all hearsay. And it has obviosly been distorted by the media-because that is what they do. Her death is unfortunate but maybe if she had lost some weight, got a real job, and took care of herself she wouldn't have been having so many problems. She is not a complete victim here, her choices took her to that situation in life. I mean there was a warrent out for her arrest and everthing - she wasn't exactly contributing much to society, just another loafer sapping off the system. RIP

Desdinova said...

OH YES Annon 5:13. You are right! How dare us stupid and evil news media people care about a dying woman. I'm glad you feel she deserved to die for being Hispanic and overweight. How dare us consider this a tragedy and not focus on what ever problems you have.

Anonymous said...

So, anon 5:13, where will your choices take you? Do you believe your attitude towards others less fortunate than you will haunt you someday? I hope you've got good insurance, and that you never make a bad lifestyle choice. Instant karma's gonna get you. It is just a matter of time. And choices.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:13, so you think Ms. Hernandez is a "loafer" because she's overweight and possibly had a warrant out for her arrest? How inconsiderate of her for loafing around on the middle of the floor of the ER in a fetal position, bleeding out!

Explain WHY Paris Hilton -- who DID break the law by driving under the influence, then went ahead and violated her probation twice -- got out of jail after only three days for an "undisclosed medical condition"! If it had been one of US, we would have gone to the jail's medical unit, but instead, Paris got an electronic ankle bling and was under house arrest in her 2700 sq. foot home. I wish *I* could be under house arrest in Paris' home!

Ms. Hernandez was a mother -- there are now three children who don't have a mommy anymore -- PLEASE tell me what (if anything) Paris Hilton has contributed to society. Even though she's blonde, rich and thin, Paris is the true loafer.

But back to the point....before you start judging people on account of their weight, you should know that certain medications and illnesses DO cause weight gain. I gained weight while I was on chemo....but you'd probably assume I just "let myself go" while I was fighting for my life. I saw a bumper sticker the other day that's perfect for people who have ignorant attitudes -- "I May Be Fat, But You're STUPID And I Can Diet."

Anonymous said...

Tis a privilege to live in the Ozarks, where good, white "Christians" like anon 5:13 can feel superior to the poor, lazy dark people. S/he likely attends one of them mega churches which can spend $20 million dollars for a new on ramp so the little parishoners aren't delayed getting to Sunday dinner.

Wonder when exactly gawd stopped blessing America, allowing such creatures as anon 5:13 to feel so superior?

Anonymous said...

Well one thing is for certain - over the last six years people like anon@5:13 have felt a lot more comfortable letting their inner fascist out for public display.

Anonymous said...

After reading anon 5:13's “contribution,” I’m now convinced that Julius Streicher has been reincarnated as an Ozarkian. Nits make lice, eh 5:13?