A lot goes on in a typical big-city emergency room, and it may be good for hospital staff to maintain a certain amount of emotional detachment from their patients. However, detachment should not cross over into callousness, and it definitely should not cause a deadly infection to go undiagnosed, as the husband of a woman who died in the hospital in January believes happened. He is suing the hospital for negligently causing her death.
The woman appears to have been in great pain when someone called an ambulance to their home. She was “screaming on the bed” when EMTs arrived, the husband said at a press conference. When she started crawling on the bed, five EMTs pushed and strapped her down “like a freaking animal,” he recalled.
The EMTs took her to the hospital. The medical examiner’s office now suspects the woman was suffering from bacterial meningitis, but an ER nurse had her own theory: she insisted the woman was under the effects of synthetic marijuana.
Her husband said he told the nurse his wife of 23 years did not do drugs, but the nurse ignored him in order make jokes about the dying woman with other staff members. Then the staff locked the couple in a room and left them alone until the woman went into cardiac arrest.
Someone called an ICU doctor, but it was too late. The doctor said he could not move her because she would not survive the trip to the elevator.
If these allegations are true, the indifference and outright hostility shown by this hospital is shocking. Mistakes happen, but the nurse apparently failed to even consider that the woman needed emergency attention.