Monday, January 4, 2010

Lawsuits for deaths in hospital waiting rooms

A few weeks ago, a right wing group opposing health reform organized a protest in Congress during which protestors were to go in and pretend to die while waiting for health services. (Go here for a report on this.) This notion is based on the argument that health care would result in waiting lines so long that people would die because they would not get treatment in time.... as if that was not happening now! About is reporting today that in the last few weeks three new hospital malpractice lawsuits have been filed against facilities that allegedly failed to treat patients in a timely manner, contributing to the deaths of one adult woman and two newborns. Two of the lawsuits were filed against University Medical Center (UMC) in Las Vegas by women who claim that the hospital failed to treat them while they were in labor, resulting in the deaths of their newborn children. A third emergency room lawsuit was filed in late November against San Mateo County, California by the daughter of a woman who says her mother was left to die in a county-run hospital waiting room. Go here for the full story. A study published last November in the Archives of Internal Medicine indicates that problems with delays in emergency room treatment are worsening across the country and these kinds of problems, including waiting room deaths, are examples of why we need more health care reform, not less.

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