Sunday, September 24, 2006


This story made recent headlines. A woman apparently presented with classic signs of heart attack and was placed in the ER waiting room for 2-3 hours where she died. The case is being handled as a potential homicide...yes homicide! None of the articles I've read about this event give any details as to what was happening in the ER at that particular time (how busy it was, who was being triaged into the ER ahead of her, etc.). I agree that some large errors were probably made; however, is this homicide? The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) president Rick Blum, MD, gave an address on Sept 18, 2006, concerning the event and gave this quote:

"... emergency physicians and nurses go into emergency medicine to save lives. To criminalize their efforts would be a terrible mistake and have a severe chilling effect on people going into the medical field."

Read the information about this event and let me know your opinion. Should the triage nurse or ER staff be charged with homicide?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh brother, what next?
medicine has truly become a circus. there is certainly no reason to go into medicine and no reason to keep working in an ER setting.

2:37 PM  
Blogger Dr Samson Isberg said...

Welcome after us, America! We had our first case like this some years ago when two doctors were charged with homicide when a post-partum woman treated for pneumonia died of a pulmonary embolism. The doctors however were not shot as Norway has abolished captal punishment for the time being.
So for once Europe is trend-setting...great

11:13 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

This is complete BULLSHIT! Especially since the majority of people who come to the ER change their story or complaint each time that they talk to a different person. I don't know how many times people have come into the ER and told me -the triage nurse- that they are here for this or that minor complaint BUT when they finaly get back into the main part of the ER they tell the doctor that they are having chest pain!!!People will look you straight in the eye and lie about everything. "NO, I have NEVER used drugs in my entire life!" Then their urine tox screen comes back positive for cocaine, thc, benzos, and opiates! Almost everyone is a freaking liar! It's no wonder there is a nursing shortage. Soon they will be missing one more.......(as soon as i find a different job)

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Difficult times - aware of several suits for similar 'delays' (always that way in the retrospectoscope), but never homicide

Obviously, medicine is on the ropes, but I'm afraid it's only going to get worse, before getting better - look at the recent 3rd largest medmal suit in Tampa, FL (Navarro at UCH-Carrollwood)

As long as we in medicine are judged on outcomes primarily these huge settlements and 'homicide' suggestions are only the tip of the iceberg. After all, if our of house of medicine (such as this coroner in IL) do not understand our problems, how can we expect the lay public to connect the dots (especially when they rush in with the first twinge of chest pain, but continue to smoke (along with their untreated HTN/DM) after their stents and CABGs!)

11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is time for the nation to see what they would do without access for 1 day. Then a month later 2 days. That would result is reasonable reform. It is nasty and serious....... see us or sue us but both is not OK

10:03 PM  
Blogger Caduceus said...

I agree fully. Funny thing is...I can only think of a handful of doctors that would actually walk out on their patients. Most doctors just don't have it in them to do that to someone in need. Crazy isn't it, that even after the fear of lawsuit, the suit itself, and/or problem patients, most doctors still wouldn't walk out on their patients.

11:29 PM  

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