At the very least, they should change this hospital's name - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-23-2007, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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At the very least, they should change this hospital's name

This story sickens me as much as it troubles me. This sounds more like a care facility in a third-world country than a hospital in the City of Angels. Even after this woman collapsed, they did nothing, even the janitor simply cleaned around her. Good grief.

Regulators may close troubled inner city hospital

Story Highlights
• Hospital in Los Angeles plagued by patient deaths, alleged substandard care
• As one patient screamed on ER floor, hospital employees ignored her
• Another patient waited four days in ER for care before family took him elsewhere
• Public hospital was built after Watts riots to improve health care for poor

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- When Edith Isabel Rodriguez showed up in the emergency room of an inner-city hospital last month complaining of severe stomach pain, the staff was already familiar with her.

It was at least her third visit to Los Angeles County's public Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital in as many days. "You have already been seen, and there is nothing we can do," a nurse told her.

Minutes later, the 43-year-old mother of three collapsed on the floor screaming in pain and began vomiting blood. Employees ignored her, and she was soon dead.

Now state and federal regulators are threatening to close the hospital or pull its funding unless it can be improved, and Rodriguez has become a symbol of everything wrong with the facility derisively known as "Killer King."

After she collapsed, surveillance cameras show that Rodriguez was left for dead on the floor.

Nurses walked past her. A janitor cleaned up around her. No one did anything until police were called to cart her away. They didn't get far before she went into cardiac arrest and died.

"This needs to stop," state Health Services Director Sandra Shewry said Thursday as the agency moved to revoke the hospital's license. "We're doing this in response to the egregious incidents that have come to light in the last six weeks."

The hospital, formerly known as Martin Luther King Jr.-Drew Medical Center, was built after the 1965 Watts riot to bring health care to poor, minority communities in south Los Angeles.

But it had been plagued by patient deaths blamed on sloppy nursing care, among other things. The county attempted over the last few years to correct the problems with a multimillion dollar rescue effort, disciplining workers, reorganizing management, closing the trauma unit and reducing the number of beds from 200 to 48.

Brain tumor patient waits 4 days in ER
After Rodriguez's death, federal reports showed those efforts were failing and patients were in "immediate jeopardy." Of the 60 cases reviewed between February and June, more than a quarter received substandard care, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In February, a brain tumor patient languished in the emergency room for four days before his family drove him to another hospital for emergency surgery. A pregnant woman who complained of bleeding was given a pregnancy test and left, only to return three days later and have a miscarriage after waiting more than four hours to see a doctor.

The findings have sent county officials scrambling to improve care before a federal inspection due by August 15 that could determine whether the hospital keeps its federal funding. The county might close the facility without that money.

The hospital, meanwhile, could contest the state allegations in a hearing before a Department of Health Services administrative law judge.

'Losing hope'
"I'm losing hope," Zev Yaroslavsky, member of the county Board of Supervisors that oversees King-Harbor, told hospital managers earlier this week. "We need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario."

On Friday, the county's Department of Health Services released a contingency plan to deal with closing hospital departments and relocating patients if they must. The plan, which also lays out how the hospital could eventually be reopened if a private partner is found, will be presented to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, said Bruce Chernof, director of the department.

Even though hospitals nationwide struggle with too many patients and not enough staff, the scope and severity of King-Harbor's problems are rare.

"Most hospitals in America have long waits, they have crowded ERs," said Dr. Bruce Siegel, former chief of New York City's public hospitals and a George Washington University professor. "But they don't let people die in the waiting room after they call 911. This is a whole new level here."

Doctors insisted Rodriguez had gallstones
Rodriguez, who struggled with drug addiction over the years, had visited King-Harbor several times for stomach pain in the days before she died. Each time, she was sent home, in some cases with pain medication, after doctors said she suffered from gallstones.

"They discharged me, but I don't feel good. I feel sick," she told her sister, Marcela Sanchez.

At the urging of her sister, Rodriguez returned to the hospital.

Early on May 9, she was wheeled into the ER by county police officers.

"Thanks a lot, officers, she's a regular here," a nurse said. "She has already been seen and was discharged."

After the nurse again refused to help, Rodriguez slid off her wheelchair and onto her knees in a fetal position, screaming in pain, according to a federal report based in part on surveillance videotape.

Calling 911 from the hospital
Over the next half hour, hospital staff walked past her. Soon, her boyfriend, Jose Prado, who had left for about an hour, returned to the hospital.

"When I came back, I found her lying on the floor with blood coming out of her mouth," Prado said. "She said, 'Honey, help me! Nobody will help me here!"'

He pleaded with medical staff and then a county police sergeant to intervene, but no one did.

"I told him she had blood in her mouth," Prado says he told the sergeant. "But he told me, 'Don't worry, she just has chocolate in her mouth.'"

Then he called 911.

"My wife is dying and the nurses don't want to help her out," he said in Spanish through an interpreter

"What's wrong with her?" a dispatcher asked.

"She's vomiting blood," Prado said.

'I just hugged her'
When the dispatcher refused assistance, he hung up and frantically ran back to Rodriguez.

"I just hugged her. I didn't know what else to do. I couldn't think of anything else," he said.

Eventually, officers arrested her on a parole violation.

Police wheeled her out of the ER, then returned minutes later after Rodriguez's heart had stopped. Autopsy results revealed she died of a perforated bowel that probably developed in the previous 24 hours, a condition that is often treatable if caught early enough.

"They took her outside to die like an animal," Prado said.

After her death, a triage nurse was put on leave, resigned and was reported to the state Nursing Board for investigation. Six others -- a nurse, two nursing assistants, and three hospital finance workers -- were disciplined. Sheriff's detectives, meanwhile, have opened a homicide investigation.

Rodriguez's family said little will ease their grief. They plan to sue and are seeking copies of the video surveillance tapes, which are being held as part of a criminal investigation.

"They took my sister," Sanchez said. "It wasn't time for her to go."

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. (Winston Churchill)
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-24-2007, 06:53 AM
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Sounds to me like there is a good case for some criminal charges to be filed here. Those in charge need some "private" time in jail to think this over.
After they lose their licences, a new line of work, like maybe in a soup kitchen............

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-24-2007, 08:06 AM
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4 years ago, I was flagged down on US 72 and I found myself in the uncomfortable position of having to give CPR to a dead man who hadn't practiced any kind of hygeine in the last month. I did the best I could but my mouth contacting his was out of the question. I used the hand cup procedure, not as effective as the proper contact. It's dangerous trying to perform emergency treatment when you have no facilities or equipment. I found out later he died because his heart exploded, not a chance he could have been saved. What was really troublesome was that there was an EMT from a volunteer fire department (I found out by sheer accident a few weeks later) standing next to me while I attempted to revive him. He never offered help or acknowledged he knew anything. I guess he didn't want the man's 'cooties'.

As for this hospital, they had the facilities and did nothing to save this lady's life. Every person who was in that room should be charged, in the least, with criminal neglect.

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-24-2007, 08:18 AM
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A few months ago I tried to administer mouth to mouth to a young lady in an attempt to resuscitate her and for my trouble she tried to have my arrested saying that she wasn't in any kind of danger. Well if that's true why was she riding the bus next to me? I think she wanted me to stare at her breast! fucking tramp! ....... Oh, never mind.
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