No Criminal Charges In CA Waiting Room Death-Perforated Bowel

  1. 0 This is the case from last year. I'm sure they will win big in the civil case. They should.


    LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- No criminal charges will be filed against medical staff at a troubled inner-city hospital over the death of a homeless woman who writhed in pain on the emergency room floor for nearly an hour, a county prosecutor concluded Tuesday.
    A nurse at Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital was not criminally negligent despite refusing to examine Edith Rodriguez -- who was kneeling and screaming in pain with a perforated bowel -- and telling her to get off the floor, according to the report by Deputy District Attorney Susan Schwartz.
    "Prompt intervention would not have saved her life," Schwartz wrote in the report to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department about the May 2007 death.
    "It cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt" that the nurse's
    Read article in its entirety:

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/07/08/tro....ap/index.html
    Last edit by sirI on Jul 9, '08 : Reason: edited for copyright purposes
  2. Visit  Batman24 profile page

    About Batman24

    Joined Dec '06; Posts: 2,139; Likes: 3,204.

    32 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  Teleflurry profile page
    8
    I thought as nurses we were taught NEVER to judge people's pain, and to treat them despite a history of drug abuse, etc. You cannot play God and assume their trying to get a fix every time...and this shows it. Damn shame.
    grace90, Gilltl2, Jo Dirt, and 5 others like this.
  4. Visit  Vito Andolini profile page
    3
    this just infuriates me.

    suppose the triage nurse didn't know the patient or her history of drugs and of having been seen 5x in a week. then what would she have done?

    i don't think it was discrimination so much as plain assinine ignorance and blind faith that the patient had been correctly diagnosed.

    it seems to me that anyone who is begging for help, humiliated by having to publicly beg from a hard, cold, filthy floor ought to be examined again. her statement that something had burst inside her was totally ignored. all this nurse saw was a patient who had been examined already and she trusted the doctor. yes, i know that is usually a reasonable thing to do but not this time. now she must live with that for the rest of her life. however unadmirable this woman was, however big a drain on society due to her child production proclivity and probably welfare status and drug abuse, she did not deserve to die writhing in agony on a filthy floor in such a public manner, ignored to death, presumed to death by hardened, insensitive medical staff.

    and the police are going to arrest her so she can get medical care at the jail????? i about came through the monitor screen when i read that utter and complete lie. no jail is going to accept an arrestee who is screaming for medical care. arrestees are screened upon arrival by jail nurses before being put in the holding tank. and this patient would have been refused by the nurse and sent guess where - to an er for evaluation and clearance (fit for confinement) before the nurse would have accepted the patient to be admitted at a place where no doctor is on duty. jail doctors are not there 24/7. in some jails, they are only there a few hours per week. and i doubt they're there at night, on weekends, holidays, even in los angeles.

    i understand the frustration the triage nurse must have felt but, if she ever triages again, i hope she will have learned that a patient like this needs to be evaluated again, no matter how many times it takes. and we nurses have to be bold about calling supervisors and attendings if we think the residents are not getting the proper imaging studies, labs, and consults.

    this whole case and every one like it just sickens me.
    Crux1024, imanedrn, and leslie :-D like this.
  5. Visit  big-chicken profile page
    0
    Just because no criminal charges are being filed does not mean the nurses and doctors will not face sanctions possibly including suspension of license.

    Here is another similar case from NY city, also involving a large law suit.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25598679/

    big-chicken
  6. Visit  Gauge profile page
    12
    No criminal charges will be filed against medical staff at a troubled inner-city hospital over the death of a homeless woman who writhed in pain on the emergency room floor for nearly an hour, a county prosecutor concluded Tuesday.
    The decision not to file criminal charges was disappointing, said Franklin Casco Jr., an attorney for Rodriguez's family in a $45 million lawsuit claiming negligence, medical malpractice, discrimination and wrongful death.
    It's a sad thing that happened, but it's disgusting that her family did nothing to get her shelter or a home or anything, yet jump on the chance to collect a possible $45 million in damages when they probably haven't seen the woman in years.
    nerdtonurse?, grace90, Mulan, and 9 others like this.
  7. Visit  SEENIT profile page
    5
    Working in an ER is not fun. You are pulled in 10 different directions at once. Tempers flare, patients are upset about waits, families get angry, doctors yell. Our ER's are overcrowded and understaffed. Things like this should not happen, but under the present circumstances I'm surprized it dosen't happen more often.
    Mulan, ruralnurs, catlvr, and 2 others like this.
  8. Visit  Altra profile page
    8
    Quote from SEENIT
    Working in an ER is not fun. You are pulled in 10 different directions at once. Tempers flare, patients are upset about waits, families get angry, doctors yell. Our ER's are overcrowded and understaffed. Things like this should not happen, but under the present circumstances I'm surprized it dosen't happen more often.
    Absolutely.

    The circumstances in which this woman died are appalling. However, the things that an ER triage nurse sees every day are also appalling.

    Every. Single. Day. That I am in triage I triage one of our frequent flyers who have their spiel down to a "T": disheveled appearance, crying, moaning, forced vomiting, or loud complaints of chest pain, abd pain, or "I can't breathe!" gets sympathy from the waiting room and evil thoughts directed at the triage nurse. Continued complaints of one of these once they are back in a treatment room being evaluated by an MD will probably succeed in getting them admission, with a few days of food, shelter, and narcotics. I'm not saying that I have no feeling for the deplorable state these individuals' lives are in ... just trying to paint a picture.

    Every. Single. Day. That I am in triage I triage young adults without significant comorbidities who are currently having *emergent* sore throats, vomiting x 1, or *fever* of 99.8. Nearly all of them are indignant about wait times. About half loudly attempt to raise Hell. (usually those who "can't breathe" ... in loud complete sentences) Again, I might feel some sympathy for those presumed *adults* who apparently lack any ability to cope with life's annoyances ... but I'm painting a picture for those who have not experienced life as an ER nurse.

    And about that "pain is whatever the patient says it is" ...

    OK. We'll go with that. But Every. Single. Day. I have at least one patient who continues to complain of pain (chest, abd, ribs, back, elbow, left great toe, you name it ...) throughout their evaluation & diagnostic testing and throughout their 3-5+ administrations of progressively more powerful pain meds (the Toradol -- Morphine -- 2mg Dilaudid -- 2-4mg Dilaudid -- additional Dilaudid & 1mg Ativan train route). But when informed firmly by the MD that all diagnostics are negative and they will be discharged ... suddenly say, "OK", promise to follow up with their PCP and go on their merry way. I can safely bet they'll be back within a week.
    Mulan, nightshift1974, jrwest, and 5 others like this.
  9. Visit  Rabid Response profile page
    5
    How horrible for that woman. And shame on the security guards, doctors, and nurses for leaving her to lie on the floor like that. I think the hospital should certainly be penalized for this incident. However, I do not think that the money should go to her family, who were not shouldering the burden of her care when she was alive. This woman was homeless and alone (no family members with her) in the ED waiting room; obviously she was not their priority before she died. I think 45 million is a just amount for the hospital to pay, but I think that the money should go to non-profit organizations that provide medical care and other services to the homeless, indigent, and/or mentally ill population of that city. That would be fitting.
    grace90, nightshift1974, TheChair1, and 2 others like this.
  10. Visit  leslie :-D profile page
    2
    ok, i get the stories being told by er nurses.
    i get that some of these pts are masters of deception and know how to play the game.

    with all that said, aren't there nurses who depend on their 'instincts', and their gut tells them this is for real?

    not understanding some of this.

    leslie
    imanedrn and SKM-NURSIEPOOH like this.
  11. Visit  oncnursemsn profile page
    4
    I certainly don't want to change the theme of this post- that a homeless woman was not treated with dignity and care that all our patients deserve, but it can be challenging to care for someone whose work up is negative and they insist they are in pain 10 out of 10. I'm sure this woman's work up would have shown a problem if they had bothered.
    Had a 32 year old home health aide transferred to our onc unit (we had beds) because the outside hospital was sick of dealing with her and demands for more pain meds. She didn't know they did a tox screen and it came up + for methadone. Oops. That wasn't listed on her med reconcilliation list was it? Turns out she was stealing meds from her elderly clients and had run out. Where to go? The hospital of course.
    As nurses we always have to treat our patients professionally and maintain a non-judgemental attitude. Tough sometimes.
    NRSKarenRN, imanedrn, SKM-NURSIEPOOH, and 1 other like this.
  12. Visit  herring_RN profile page
    0
  13. Visit  Vito Andolini profile page
    4
    Quote from Gauge
    It's a sad thing that happened, but it's disgusting that her family did nothing to get her shelter or a home or anything, yet jump on the chance to collect a possible $45 million in damages when they probably haven't seen the woman in years.
    We don't know how connected she was or wasn't to her family. Why assume the worst?

    A lot of relatives of drug users have totally been through the mill with their abuser relative and have had, for their own survival, to wash their hands of their loved one. I have a friend who has had to do that with his brother. The brother has used drugs off and on for decades, has been in and out of prison, can't support his 5 children, has tried to kill himself, and has stolen from his brother when the brother put him and his large family up in the brother's home. Understandably, he had to put his brother out. My friend is a nurse, so you know he's living pretty much check to check. He has his own family to care for, his own loans to pay off, etc. He has helped his brother with attorney fees, he has helped care for his nieces and nephews as best he can, but there is a limit. There's an uncle in the picture and he is a lawyer so he has helped a good deal over the last 25 years. The abuser's mom has also helped but she doesn't make that much, she works 2 jobs to keep herself afloat and had to raise 2 younger children pretty much alone, so how much could she really do for the eldest son? His father is dead, was a drunk, left nothing but bills.

    The point is, the family has tried to help their relative but there are limits. They have helped him get into rehab a couple of times, too, and have tried to help with his children while he was in prison 2 or 3 times.

    If he were to die on an ER floor, alone, no family, someone might assume that his family were selfish, greedy, and otherwise evil. But as you can see from what I have told you, that would be incorrect. They have just reached the limit of their ability to help him. Please, people, let's not assume the worst. I know my friend's family grieves for him and prays for him and would help him if he showed some promise of improving and turning his life around. But they can't be expected to keep throwing away their time, their money, their hearts. It's about survival.

    End of heartfelt response. :spin:
    grace90, Altra, VivaLasViejas, and 1 other like this.
  14. Visit  Vito Andolini profile page
    2
    Quote from NOCnewbie
    How horrible for that woman. And shame on the security guards, doctors, and nurses for leaving her to lie on the floor like that. I think the hospital should certainly be penalized for this incident. However, I do not think that the money should go to her family, who were not shouldering the burden of her care when she was alive. This woman was homeless and alone (no family members with her) in the ED waiting room; obviously she was not their priority before she died. I think 45 million is a just amount for the hospital to pay, but I think that the money should go to non-profit organizations that provide medical care and other services to the homeless, indigent, and/or mentally ill population of that city. That would be fitting.
    We can't assume that the family was uninvolved. Also, I think a boyfriend might have been with her.

    I agree that the money should go to whoever is going to raise her children and to help other homeless, mentally ill, addicts, and other needy people. But don't forget - the lawyer has to get his cut.
    herring_RN and SKM-NURSIEPOOH like this.

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