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Is the healthcare system broken?
The family of a Pennsylvania man who died while waiting for emergency personnel to come and take him to the hospital thinks so. As reported by Joe Mandak for The Associated Press, the man’s two children have named the city of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County’s Department of Emergency Services and a number of individuals – ranging from emergency medical service officials and supervisors to a 911 dispatcher – in the wrongful death lawsuit.
The incident in question occurred this past February during a vicious snowstorm on the east coast. 911 dispatchers received a call from the man’s girlfriend requesting immediate medical assistance. Over the next 30 hours, the woman made 10 increasingly desperate calls to 911.
Finally, the man passed away due to what was later confirmed to be complications due to heart disease. Prior to his death, in the thirty hours while he waited for medical personnel to arrive, the man experienced intestinal swelling and extreme abdominal discomfort.
The worst part of the ordeal was that emergency responders did arrive, just not outside of the house. Unable to reach the front door via ambulance, responders demanded that the man come to them. When he was unable to, due to the pain, the ambulances left.
Shocked, the man’s girlfriend called repeatedly for help, but to no end.
One paramedic has already been discharged due to his conduct and another three were suspended. Few are defending the actions of those involved and some officials have already come forward to apologize to the family.
The city of Pittsburgh is currently reviewing the lawsuit.