Martin Luther King Jr Harbor Hospital May Be Forced To Close – Woman Died On Floor of Emergency Room

Martin Luther King Jr Harbor Hospital May Be Forced To Close – Woman Died On Floor of Emergency Room

MLK Harbor Hospital

(Best Syndication) As other hospitals in the metro area have been closing their emergency rooms, the death of a woman last month puts pressure on Martin Luther King Jr. Harbor Hospital (formerly King / Drew) emergency services to take corrective action or risk being shut down. A report revealed that a woman bled to death on the floor of the emergency room last month.

This case even made national news. "Here's a person crying for help. Will no one help?" said Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania who discussed the case on CNN this week. "What kind of a society are we when we can't even render aid to someone who's in their own blood and vomit on the floor and you're mopping around them? It's a kind of morality tale of a society gone cold."

The woman, Edith Isabel Rodriguez, was a California native who the LA Times calls a “quasi-transient”. They report that she had a history of drug use and even had a small amount of methamphetamine in her system when she died, but at a level that was not "life-threatening."

Tapes of the 911 calls suggest that she died because dispatchers refused to contact paramedics or an ambulance to take her to another facility. But even if an ambulance service was called, they would have only driven her to the closest hospital, which was the one she was at.

Because of that dilemma, there may be policy changes taken outside the hospital as well. Charles Ornstein of the Times reports that the Sheriffs department is also examining how it handles 911 calls from hospitals. There is no current policy, according Capt. Steven M. Roller of the sheriff's Century Station.

Another instance involved a man with a brain tumor who waited four days in the emergency room when he needed to be transferred to another facility for lifesaving brain surgery.

Robert Jablon of the Associated Press reports that earlier this week, the county Board of Supervisors grilled health officials about conditions at MLK. They ordered hospital officials to return in two weeks with a plan to deal with a hospital shutdown if they are unable to correct deficiencies laid out in a federal inspection. The inspection concluded emergency room patients were in "immediate jeopardy."

Jablon reports that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services inspected the facility last week and gave the hospital 23 days to correct problems or face a loss of federal funding. That could force MLK to close.

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By Marsha Quinn
Best Syndication News Health Writer

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