Death after two-hour ER wait ruled homicide

  1. http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/09/15/er.....ap/index.html

    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."
  2. Visit EDValerieRN profile page

    About EDValerieRN

    Joined: Mar '05; Posts: 178; Likes: 267
    Emergency Department RN
    Specialty: ER, Peds, Charge RN

    228 Comments

  3. by   Lurksalot
    Scary and sad. Just the other day I started working on a patient like this, and since we had no beds I began sticking her and getting an EKG in the hall between triage and the waiting room until we could bump some of the stubbed toes out of the rooms.

    Death in Illinois ER ruled a homicide
    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/nation...oom_Death.html
    http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial...16/3070484.asp
  4. by   banditrn
    Pitiful. I would imagine heads are going to roll over this one.
  5. by   MilitaryMedtoRN
    What was this nurse thinking??? Nausea, SOB and CP. This is ridiculous.
  6. by   CHATSDALE
    hospital waiting rooms are too often a joke my son went into er vomiting blood and passing bloody stools was sitting in er waiting room for two hours before even getting a bed to lie down in..this was a young man in good health i can imagine a person with long standing health problems or with a progressing stroke/mi
    triage should be manned per pa/np who can sort through and give certain meds. if you go in with a uti couldn't you agree to obtain ab and go home

    my md will call in meds but many do not and some people simply do not have a primary md

    i know that a stacked up waiting room of non-emergency patients can be frustrating but the ptb need to fix the problem or you will see this repeated many times
  7. by   UM Review RN
    I feel that it was certainly a tragedy, but not a criminal act.
  8. by   Sylv
    Quote from MilitaryMedtoRN
    What was this nurse thinking??? Nausea, SOB and CP. This is ridiculous.
    Exactly!
  9. by   leslie :-D
    it does sound ominous.
    semi-emergent w/classic presentation of mi?
    interesting assessment.

    leslie
  10. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Excuse me, but she died of a HEART ATTACK, right? Them there's what we call 'natural causes' in these here parts. Failure to appropriately assist might be negligence, but it isn't and wasn't the primary cause of death.

    A multi-million dollar judgment? Probably. A criminal conviction? Boy howdy, can we put all them judges and lawyers on criminal trial that let or get people off with slaps on wrists that kill and molest again? Somehow, I suspect that there is some sort of official protection against criminal sanctions for their malpractice.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  11. by   rjflyn
    My question is where was the EKG on this patient. The national standard of care is that a patient having an MI have one within 15 mins of arrival. Hence at my facility even when full up and overflowing we have one done on every patient presenting with chest pain in the triage area if need be. I would find it extremely hard to believe that this patients EKG did not have changes consistent with MI or at the very least abnormal to the point of she would not of waited in triage long enough to move some BS pt out in to the hall.

    So yes something criminal did take place. As to what I will not say as I dont know that hospital system or their protocols.

    With out all the informatin ie the chart specifically its hard to know what the triage nurse was presented with or saw. But since a jury determined a gross deviation from standards I would bet something pretty glaring occurred.



    Rj
    Last edit by rjflyn on Sep 16, '06
  12. by   charebec65
    I can't help but wonder if there's not more than meets the eye here. I can't imagine an ER nurse ignoring MI sx. Maybe the initial stated sx were different. I'm a cardiac pt. I often have chest pain and have certain criteria to follow as to whether or not go to the ER. The two times I went to the ER with unremitting chest pain and other sx associated with MI I was immediately taken back and assessed.....
  13. by   ERNP
    It seems to me that the legislature, not the coroner, should undertake to redefine homicide. I don't think this rises to homicide. Maybe involuntary manslaughter if there is to be any criminal pursuit at all.

    Definitely civil legal country.... failure to rescue, violation of nationally accepted standard of care....

    But do remember to view everything you read with a degree of scrutiny. The news blurbs are very small snipets designed to incite the reader. Therefore, we have not even a small portion of facts surrounding this event.
  14. by   rjflyn
    The coroners jury didnt have many options if you read their form, it is linked to in the CNN story. I personally could only speculate what would lead lay people to that decision.

    Rj

    Quote from ERNP
    It seems to me that the legislature, not the coroner, should undertake to redefine homicide. I don't think this rises to homicide. Maybe involuntary manslaughter if there is to be any criminal pursuit at all.

    Definitely civil legal country.... failure to rescue, violation of nationally accepted standard of care....

    But do remember to view everything you read with a degree of scrutiny. The news blurbs are very small snipets designed to incite the reader. Therefore, we have not even a small portion of facts surrounding this event.

close