New York man dies after 8-hour wait in a hospital waiting room

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

A man from the Bronx died in the waiting room of a local hospital’s emergency center on Jan. 19. The man reportedly came to the hospital on Jan. 18 at around 10 p.m. to have a rash examined. However, the 30-year-old was reported to have spent eight hours at St. Barnabas hospital while waiting for treatment, and data collected by ProPublica estimated that the hospital hospital’s average wait time in the emergency room is five hours.

Just before 7 a.m. the next day, the man was found dead in the waiting room by a security guard. An unidentified employee at the hospital said that the man may have been dead for an extended period of time and described the man’s body as cold and stiff when he was discovered.

While that employee suggested that St. Barnabas does not have any protocol for checking on the patients in the waiting room, a man representing the hospital told one news source that the 30-year-old had been checked on a number of times during his wait. The representative also suggested that a video showed the man alive after his name had been called when it was his turn for treatment.

There was no information suggesting that the family of the man would pursue a claim against the hospital, but, through medical malpractice lawsuit, the man’s family may be able to collect damages sustained as a result of the man’s death. Working with an attorney who has experience in medical malpractice litigation, the family may be able to show that the man’s death was caused by the hospital’s negligence and might be able to hold them liable for economic and non-economic damages.

Source: DNA Info New York, “Bronx Man Dies While Waiting in St. Barnabas Emergency Room”, Dana Varinsky , January 26, 2014

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