A New York man died in the early hours of Jan. 20 after waiting more than eight hours for medical assistance at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, NY.
30-year-old John Verrier visited St. Barnabas Hospital’s Emergency Room around 10 p.m. on Jan. 19, reports WABC. Concerned about a rash, his vitals were checked by hospital staff before he was instructed to sit in the busy waiting room until his name was called. The next morning at 6:40 a.m., Verrier's dead body was found in a waiting room chair by a hospital security guard.
"He was found stiff blue and cold. He was there for a while," said a hospital worker speaking anonymously to WABC. When questioned by the local news station's reporter, Jim Hoffer, how a patient could be ignored for such a length of time at a major New York City hospital, the worker revealed that no policy exists "to check the waiting room to see if people waiting to be seen are still there or still alive."
According to WABC, the employee was working the night that Verrier died and blamed understaffing at the hospital for the patient going unnoticed for so many hours. "I'm saying he died because of not enough staff to take care of the number of patients we see each day. We need more staff at St Barnabas hospital," he said.
St. Barnabas says the patient was checked on numerous times during his eight-hour wait and his name was called when it was time for him to see a doctor. But the employee refutes the claim, saying that it is "100 percent false" that Verrier was checked on during his wait. “Based on number of people in the waiting room, it is impossible to check on each person physically," said the employee. But he did say the patient's name was called three times over the ER's P-A system.
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A spokesperson for the hospital says that following an internal review, it has been concluded that "all hospital guidelines were met." Still, the ER worker continues to stand by his claims that the man's death was the result of hospital error.
"In health care, I understand it's a business, but if people are dying under your watch, something has to be done," he said.