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Excessive Emergency Room Wait Results in Wrongful Death

Most people consider a hospital a place to seek medical help in order to improve a patient’s condition. Those same people consider a hospital emergency room as a place to get immediate medical assistance. Unfortunately, sometimes a patient is forgotten or neglected by hospital staff. That was the case with Latino musician, Joaquin Rivera in a Pennsylvania hospital. Therefore, it should be no surprise that his family is filing a lawsuit against Aria Health Systems for Rivera’s wrongful death.

According to an article, the State Health Department released a report identifying numerous staff policy violations that occurred in the emergency room of Aria Health Systems on the evening of November 28, 2009.

Here is a partial sequence of events and the errors that, allegedly, occurred: Mr. Rivera entered the hospital at approximately 10:45 complaining of chest pains on his left side. Sometime later, he suffered a heart attack and died, although he sat dead in the waiting room for over 40 minutes. During this time, he was also robbed by three vagrants. All this before hospital personnel noticed or took any action. Surveillance cameras show that Mr. Rivera stopped moving 11 minutes after he arrived at the hospital. At 11:03 p.m., a nurse called his name, but did nothing when he didn’t respond. She noticed he was staring at a wall and not moving, but still did nothing. Only when another patient mentioned that he was dead, did anyone attend to Mr. Rivera.

When we seek medical care, we expect the medical professionals to take all necessary steps and precautions to protect our health and our lives. In an emergency situation, we expect those steps to be taken immediately. When physicians and hospital employees fail to perform their duties, serious physical consequence and/or death usually follow. The Rivera case seems to be an example of a wrongful death resulting from medical staff and hospital inefficiency.

Lawsuit Financial asks: Where was hospital protocol?” In this case, the nursing staff claims they were unaware of protocol that required them to check on patients in the waiting room. How can a professional hospital and staff not be responsible for monitoring the condition of patients in the waiting room? Is this is a break down in training, communication, responsibility, or all three? Whatever caused this tragedy, there should be accountability. There should be adequate safety measures, protocol, and staff training designed to prevent these types of occurrences. Lives and safety hang in the balance; if medical and hospital staff fail to exercise proper care and implement appropriate standards of care, we will continue to read about these preventable and wrongful death.

The grief that follows the loss of a loved one can be overwhelming. The last thing family members want to think about is the expenses (funeral expenses, medical bills, outstanding household bills and charges) to be settled, as they try to adjust to life without their loved one. When you think you may be entitled to compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one, the first things you should do is consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney who can help you get through the legal complexities. If you do not know an attorney, Lawsuit Financial has excellent legal referral sources all over the country and will locate a legal specialist in your area within 24 – 48 hours. This is a free service to you. Seeking compensation may take longer than expected, especially when dealing with hospitals and their insurance companies. Lawsuit funding can help cover unexpected expenses while waiting for a case to settle. Lawsuit Financial provides financial assistance to families while they pursue litigation for the wrongful death of a loved one. Our litigation funding professionals will evaluate your wrongful death lawsuit funding and can typically provide the funds you need within 24 – 48 hours of case evaluation. Call us toll free at 1-877-377-SUIT (7848) for a free analysis of your situation. The call is free; the advice is priceless!

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