A 30-year-old man died in a New York hospital waiting room after waiting several hours to be seen by a doctor.
The patient, identified as John Verrier, went to St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx about 10 p.m. on Jan. 19, complaining about a rash, according to New York’s WABC-TV. He was found dead, in a waiting room chair, by a security guard at 6:40 a.m. the next morning, the television station reported.
Verrier’s family was informed of his death by the hospital, but they were apparently not told what happened, according to the report. They found out through the media that Verrier died in the waiting room.
“You’re just a number no matter where you go,” Charles Verrier, the man’s brother, told a TV reporter. “That’s how they treated him, like a number.”
According to his family, this was not Verrier’s first trip to St. Barnabas. They also said he had struggled with drug addiction in the past, but that he’d been clean and living at home for several months.
An unnamed St. Barnabas spokesman told the station an internal review of hospital policies revealed “all hospital guidelines were met,” and that Verrier’s name was called several times over the intercom and someone checked on him. The spokesman also said that video surveillance footage shows Verrier was alive about 3:45 a.m. Monday.
Verrier’s mother, Susan Verrier, told the TV station more should have been done to help her son.
“No one should sit in the waiting room that long,” she said. “I’m sorry, name calling over the loud speaker proves nothing, nothing.”
An emergency room employee, who requested anonymity, disputed the spokesman’s assertion that someone checked on Verrier.
“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,” the ER worker said. “Based on number of people in the waiting room it is impossible to check on each person physically.”
Instead, the hospital employee says, Verrier died because of a lack of staffing.
“I’m saying he died because (there is) not enough staff to take care of the number of patients we see each day,” he said. “We need more staff at St Barnabas hospital.”
The New York State Department of Health is investigating the death, according to the station.
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