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Tapes show operators ignored pleas to send ambulance to L.A. hospital

Read and listen to the video. Thoughts please:

Woman Dies In ER Lobby
As 911 Refuses To Help

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( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 13th, 2007 11:07 pm (UTC)
I honestly don't know if it's the operator's fault. Seriously. SHE IS IN A HOSPITAL. What do you think a 9-1-1 dispatcher is going to do? Send an ambulance to bring her where? To the hospital!

I don't blame the guy for saying it's not an emergency. What he should have said is that there was nothing he can do for her. Simply because all they can do is send people to the hospital and she's already there soooooo where is the problem? If it's anyone's fault it is the hospital staff's fault. Period. In my opinion the operator did his job.
Jun. 14th, 2007 01:11 am (UTC)
Of course its the operators fault. So what if she's in a hospital, the man, with his broken Spanish accent made it very clear that the nurses were just standing around as the woman bled from the mouth. Who the hell is the guy for saying "it's not an emergency?" Is he a doctor? No Puppy Puddles! The operator did NOT do his job.

And yes, it's also the hospital's staff fault, and it was the policeman who decided to arrest the dying woman when he arrived! This woman NEVER had a chance, did she?!
Jun. 14th, 2007 03:37 am (UTC)
Alright. So what was he supposed to do. This is what he'd do. Call the hospital and tell them what they already know. IT's the nurses and doctors fault. Period. It could also be admins fault for leaving the hospital understaffed. What I think he meant is that it isn't an emergency to him because there is nothing he can do about it. That was also made clear. The bottom line is this. They shouldn't have had to call 9-1-1 from a hospital. That says something...seriously. If you have to call 9-1-1 from a hospital then your hospital sucks. If at all anything the dispatcher probably thought it was a joke because seriously. Who calls 9-1-1 when they're already in a hospital!?
Jun. 13th, 2007 11:21 pm (UTC)
I'm sure the operator thought the 911 caller was freaking out and acting irrational because the patient was in critical condition and getting worse. After all, it doesn't make sense to send an abulance for a victim that's already at a hospital.
Jun. 14th, 2007 02:16 am (UTC)
I've omitted a sentence from my last reply :o)
NEVER, should a 911 operator ASSUME, or try to make sense of a call made to him for help. Besides, a 2nd person called asking for help, and the operator again ASSUMED, and a woman died.
Jun. 14th, 2007 03:32 am (UTC)
Re: I've omitted a sentence from my last reply :o)
You're right. And obviously the operator wasn't able to handle the situation. And after reading what Daddy said, it's all their fault.
Jun. 13th, 2007 11:41 pm (UTC)
Ok lets make this clear. As a former Dispatcher, as well as an EMT for 15 years and now a federal investigator for this very kind of shit... The hospital as is said is in deep kimchee, not only could loose all federal funding, its certificate of need could be revoked by the state and loose its license. The Administrator will probably be replaced as well as the ER Physician on duty at the time and possibly a good number of nurses.

The male dispatcher will be either Fired or recieve a serious reprimand. It is NOT the dispatchers job to decide if something is an emergency or not. If there is a question SEND the unit let the trained EMT's and paramedics make the decision. IF there were County Officers on duty at the hospital, why the hell did the dispatcher not contact them and have them check the situation out?

This sounds like a series of failures on everyones part. The Hospital, ER personell and Dispatch.

I would love to be on the Complaint Investigation team.
Jun. 14th, 2007 01:14 am (UTC)
Oh, Daddy! You're my hero more than ever! I'm dead serious!
Jun. 14th, 2007 03:09 pm (UTC)
Damned straight!
Jun. 13th, 2007 11:51 pm (UTC)
Ya, I see the issue being more the fault of the hospital or police. 911 can't do much for you but take you to the nearest hospital. Not saying that policy shouldn't be looked at, but seems the people that should be under scrutiny would be the hospital. This is substantiated in that it was already under investigation for being hazardous to patients health.
Jun. 14th, 2007 01:38 am (UTC)
It looks like this hospital as been known to everyone as "Killer King Hospital."

I'm sure the 911 operator knew this, and still he refused to send help. By the sound of the video, it's obvious the call wasn't a prank. What makes it all the more horrific is the 2nd call by a different person who saw that the woman was dying on the floor, right before the nurses who just stood by looking, as the janitor mopped the floor.

The 911 operator, as well as the hospital staff are equally responsible for the woman's death.

Jun. 14th, 2007 02:35 am (UTC)
A prank? No. A frequent flyer? Mentally disturbed? The operator probably thought something along those lines (Assuming she was even allowed to send an ambuilance to a hospital.) That hospital, being a county hospital in the middle of Watts, is probably not very "upscale". I'm sure that every day they deal with people who come in and try to scam drugs, get unneeded medical attention, or just looking for attention. It happens a great deal. I work in a hospital and it's in a good city, and we deal with that every day. People screaming for help, crying, yelling about the bugs, or too messed up to know where they are. That's some of what I get to walk past every day. It wouldn't surprise me if they get regular calls from that hospital for all sorts of weird stuff. There is a regular class of people who go from hospital to hospital, almost as fast as they can, collecting all the drugs they can for real or faked symptoms called "frequent fliers".

That's probably a large contributor to why she was allowed to die in the waiting room also. Another article I looked up stated that she'd been treated recently several times and prescribed pain medicine. The staff probably thought she was just one of these frequent flier. Seeing people down on the floor faking death (or just thinking they're dieing) is something they probably see daily.

Before I'd pass any judgement, I'd wait to see if protocols or procedures weren't followed or not. 911 operators may be under strict orders not to send ambulances to hospitals. Even if she disobeyed, the ambulance company probably wouldn't have gone. Who knows what's going on at that hospital. Certainly, they're doing something wrong even if they are under a disasterous load. Then, we have to wait to see what she actually died of. She could have been misdiagnosed by an uncaring hospital staff, or she might have self inflicted wounds to fake illness. It's a horrible thing to say, but I've seen the x-rays of people who have swallowed razor blades to do that.

I'll see if I can find it, there is a medical workers forum with a thread called "Things I learned from the ER". It is full of stories of what the ER workers go through in such places.
Jun. 14th, 2007 03:56 am (UTC)
I can only imagine the horror stories those who work in ER can write, but what happened in this case, I find totally unacceptable:

First 911 Call - Male dispatcher: "I cannot do anything for you for the quality of the hospital. It is not an emergency. It is not an emergency ma'am," he said.

How could the 911 dispatcher possibly know it wasn't an emergency if she wasn't even there to make such a ridiculous statement like that?

2nd 911 Call - Female Dispatcher: "You're not here to see how they're treating her," the woman replied.

This is a 2nd witness as to what was going on.

</i>The dispatcher refused to call paramedics and told the woman that she should contact hospital supervisors "and let them know" if she is unhappy.</i>

"May God strike you too for acting the way you just acted," the woman said finally.

"No, negative ma'am, you're the one," he said.

How DARE the dispatcher fight back with obviously elder lady who is frantically trying to get help for the dying woman?! This part really enrages me!

Another thing, how could the hospital staff think for one moment the woman was pretending to be sick, when she was vomiting blood? And still add insult to injury, the janitor continues to mop the floor around the writhing woman as if she were an animal!
Jun. 14th, 2007 01:06 am (UTC)
I am not sure if they were going to take her to a county jail with medical facilities and if a doctor misdignosed what she had. I think more needs to come out. I imagine there will be a laser beam focused on the hospital and every one involved. I say wait until more information comes out in this case.
Jun. 14th, 2007 02:30 am (UTC)
This poor woman never stood a chance for survival. The hospital staff just stood there looking at her, the 911 dispatcher refused to send an ambulance, and a policeman felt she needed to be arrested!

All I can say is, WOW!
Jun. 14th, 2007 02:57 am (UTC)
She never even got to see a doctor at all. They TOTALLY failed to do anything but sit and watch her die!
Jun. 14th, 2007 01:22 am (UTC)
That was not cool. LA County must have it's hands full.
Jun. 15th, 2007 01:28 am (UTC)
Re: Huh...
No, LA County isn't cool at all! :o(
Jun. 15th, 2007 02:05 am (UTC)
Re: Huh...
Isn't LA a consolidated city/county now? Therefore, isn't the city of LA not cool, also?

Rodney King!
Jun. 14th, 2007 02:17 am (UTC)
This is a sad breakdown of communication, and failures all around, but I would place the bulk of the blame on the hospital staff...They were there, and did nothing to help an obviously sick person who needed immediate help...the dispatcher was an ass, and probably deserves to be fired..but this hospital is a travesty, a sad sad situation all around.
Jun. 15th, 2007 01:12 am (UTC)
I've always heard of The Hippocratic Oath, and had to make a google search to see exactly it says.

Those people at the ER who stood watching this poor woman die, apparently never read these sacred words:

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.

As for both 911 dispatchers, I honestly believe that if I had received that call, I would have tried everything in my power to find help for that woman.

I find it unbelievable that two dispatchers, the hospital staff, and a policeman, didn't lift a finger to try and save that woman.
Jun. 14th, 2007 02:56 am (UTC)
I read about this this morning. Isn't it DISGUSTING how they were treated. And then once the police DID show up it was to arrest her for parole violations. What a bunch of crap. It broke my heart to hear those tapes. And that one 911 operator who spoke to that woman! OMG I hope he is not only fired but sued for being so rude to her like that while she was doing the right thing. "I can't do anything about the quality of the care"... OMG... try calling the hospital and letting them know the woman is dieing in their waiting room. Or send another ambulance to take her to a hospital who WILL NOT IGNORE HER DIEING right there in front of everyone. And to allow her to suffer like that?? Don't get me going.....
Jun. 14th, 2007 12:34 pm (UTC)
Who is the 911 operator to second guess the doctors at the hospital? She was in a hospital. The 911 operator has no control over where the ambulance would take her and does not have the authority to say "Take her to a different hospital".

You need to climb off his back and get on the backs of the hospital staff.
Jun. 14th, 2007 11:35 pm (UTC)
I’m so grateful for living in E.P. after reading that. When someone calls 911, IMMEDIATELY the firemen arrive, then the ambulance, and after they do everything possible to save your life, they speed to the hospital where you’re taken into ER IMMEDIATELY!

I think it's totally unforgivable, also. That poor woman thrashing on the floor in agonizing pain, and vomiting blood, while the janitor mopped the floor around her! There’s no doubt in my mind that those in the medical profession who are SUPPOSE to do everything possible to save lives, could give a damn! I’m so angry!!
Jun. 14th, 2007 06:17 am (UTC)
I'm surprised this does not happen more often... Hospitals are so overwhelmed and the staff is so jaded... I could unfortunately tell you some equally screwed up stories :(
Jun. 14th, 2007 11:42 pm (UTC)
I would find it so interesting if you'd share those stories someday!!

As I mentioned to one other LJ friend, when an accident happens in my city, the firemen most often arrive first, and run to try to help in which ever way they can until the ambulance arrives. When you get to the hospital, you are taken immediately into the emergency room and all the nurses are there to do everything in their power to save your life. El Paso is truly blessed to have such Angels!

I have a very strong feeling you’re an Angel, too, and have save many, many lives!
Jun. 15th, 2007 01:50 pm (UTC)
That sounds great... Someday when we're hanging out I'll tell you all my crazy stories :)

Firefighters/Paramedics are really just lucky that our job is to be put into those scenarios where we have the opportunity to help people and maybe even save lives.
Jun. 14th, 2007 12:31 pm (UTC)
Your anger is misplaced
The 911 operator got a call from someone saying "I am at a hospital and need an ambulance to take my wife to another hospital". He said they nurses were just standing around.

But, from the point of view of the 911 operator, it sounds like he feels she is not getting treated soon enough so is calling 911. Who is he, the 911 operator, to second guess the medical professionals at the hospital? They are trained to make triage decisions and she is right there. And, what would the 911 operator do? He would send an ambulance to take her to the nearest hospital, which is the one she is in.

You should be directing your anger the doctors and nurses of the hospital. They failed to take care of her.
Jun. 15th, 2007 01:22 am (UTC)
Re: Your anger is misplaced
I don't think so. Two different dispatchers were call, asking for help by two different people. What would it have cost either one, to have reacted differently from the way they did?

My anger is directed at the whole miserable bunch. All were worthless. Even that elderly lady who made the 2nd called had more sense than the bunch.

When it comes to saving a life, don't assume anything. It was a known fact that that hospital was called Killer King because of its reputation that many had died before.

Really, there just isn't an excuse for what happened, and I hope both dispatchers get fired, along with the hospital staff, and the policeman who felt he had to arrest her for having a warrant for her arrest.

I often complain about El Paso, TX, but one thing this city has, and that's the very best police force, hospitals and staff, fire department, and 911 dispatchers. Had that woman lived in this city, she most likely would have been saved.
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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