Posted July 1, 2008 - A shocking in-house video shows that a psychiatric patient at a troubled New York hospital fell out of her chair and was left to die on the emergency room floor as hospital staff walked past but refused to react for almost an hour.
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The 49-year-old patient apparently didn’t die immediately after falling, as the videotape shows her moving her legs and trying to get up before eventually lying motionless. She reportedly had been in the emergency room for 24 hours before she fell.
Several staffers at the Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, can be seen looking in before moving on. While the patient lay on the floor, a security guard came by with his hand on his hip or in his pocket before walking away. Another guard came rolling by in a chair and looked on but did not get out of his seat to help until later. A doctor walked by, apparently looked on, but he left as well. Finally, after almost an hour, from when she fell, a nurse came by, kicked her to see if she would respond, then went to get help.
Amid the downpour of controversy over the incident, city officials announced that a number of personnel have been suspended or fired from the facility, which advocates for the mentally ill have dubbed a “chamber of filth, decay, indifference and danger.”
“It’s an emergency room; it’s not a bus terminal. People who are in desperate need of services care and attention come here to be treated and to get better,” an attorney told New York television station WNBC. “They don’t come here to die alone.”
Advocates also allege that the patient’s medical records were changed, since the videotape shows her on the floor at 6 a.m., when records state she was “awake up and alert” at that time. “We were absolutely appalled to get medical documentation kept in accordance with New York state law which was completely contradicted by video surveillance feeds,” an official from the Civil Liberties Union told the station.
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