Anyone who has ever made a trip to the emergency room knows to expect incredibly long waits. But just such a wait may have led to the death of a 30-year-old man in the Bronx. John Verrier showed up at the ER of Saint Barnabas Hospital around 10 p.m. complaining about a rash, and eight hours later, he was found dead, still waiting to see a doctor.
According to hospital workers, he was found stiff, cold, and blue. One staffer blamed the incredibly gruesome scene on under-staffing. But the investigation into the incident revealed that Verrier was seen at one point when a nurse took his vital signs in the over-crowded waiting area. For its part, the hospital said that the man, who had struggled with drug addiction, was checked numerous times. They also claim that his name was called several times.
Though one ER employee, who wanted to remain anonymous, noted: "There’s no policy in place to check the waiting room to see if people waiting to be seen are still there or still alive." And that while Verrier's name was called, they had not checked on him as many times as the administration would have people believe.
It's terrifying to think that this poor man was sitting there, dying, and no one helped him. It's outrageous. But anyone who has been to an emergency room in a major city can see how this could happen. If you don't have a gaping wound or are spouting blood, they feel no urgency to help you. And it's understandable that they would prioritize the most grave-seeming cases first. But what about all those deadly injuries or illnesses that don't have scary symptoms?
As of now, it's unclear exactly what killed Verrier. What is obvious is that he was suffering from something that was very serious. The most frightening part -- this could happen to anyone. Any parent. Any child. Emergency rooms are often packed and over-burdened. But people come through those doors expecting to get help. As the anonymous ER employee said, "It feels like a cover-up ... I understand that it's a business, but if people are dying under your watch, something needs to be done."
Have you heard of other cases of people dying while waiting for help in the ER?