Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bronx Man Dies After Waiting Hours For E.R. To Treat His Rash

Berger Commission and Medicaid Redesign Team hospital closings created failures that have led to long E.R. wait times in New York

A Bronx man who went to Saint Barnabas Hospital to get his rash checked out was found dead in the emergency room waiting room after an eight hour wait. John Verrier, 30, went to St. Barnabas at 10 p.m. last Sunday night; he was found dead by a security guard around 6:40 a.m. the next day. "He was found stiff, blue and cold," a hospital employee told ABC News. "He died because [there's] not enough staff to take care of the number of patients we see each day. We need more staff at Saint Barnabas."

Verrier had his vitals taken when he first got to the hospital, then told to wait for a doctor to see him. Hospital spokesman Steve Clark told the Post that Verrier's name was called "two or three times" between his arrival and 2 a.m. A security guard passed through the waiting room around 2 a.m. to wake up the many homeless people who sleep there, and Verrier was "moving, he was alive." Then when the security guard passed again around 6 a.m., he was dead.

Clark added that an in-house review found “all guidelines were met.” But the hospital worker who spoke to ABC said nobody was really checking on him: "There's no policy in place to check the waiting room to see if people waiting to be seen are still there or still alive." That worker says Verrier's name was called over the PA three times, but "based on number of people in the waiting room it is impossible to check on each person physically."

New York State is ranked 46th in the country in overall emergency room waiting time. St. Barnabas is the worst in the city when it comes to the average time patients spent in the emergency room before being sent home: it's 306 minutes there, compared to a 155 minute wait statewide and the average 137 minute wait nationally.

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