Veteran Dies Waiting for Ambulance in VA Hospital

MMiz

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Veteran Dies Waiting for Ambulance in VA Hospital

A veteran who collapsed in an Albuquerque Veteran Affairs hospital cafeteria — 500 yards from the emergency room — died after waiting 30 minutes for an ambulance, officials confirmed Thursday.

It took a half an hour for the ambulance to be dispatched and take the man from one building to the other, which is about a five-minute walk, officials at the hospital said.

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UnkiEMT

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I wonder what the delay was.

Even assuming that AAS (the private service that does all the transports in ABQ under normal circumstances, and should have had, I think 5 crews staging within 5 miles of the VA) was absolutely slammed, there are three fire houses within 2 miles of the VA, each of which should have an ALS equipped and staffed rig. Not to mention that the two major hospitals in ABQ are about 3 miles from the VA. They should have been able to grab a crew clearing and send them over.

Between that and the line "It took a half an hour for the ambulance to be dispatched..." leads me to think that dispatch dropped the ball on this one.
 

JPINFV

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So... the hospital doesn't have a code blue or rapid response team? My hospital's policy is that any code/RAT call not in a patient room or not in the main building (there's a medical office building and a behavioral health building on the campus that's not directly attached to the hospital) is the responsibility of the emergency department, and they keep a gurney and gear bag parked in the ED hallway for when it does happen.
 
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OnceAnEMT

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So... the hospital doesn't have a code blue or rapid response team? My hospital's policy is that any code/RAT call not in a patient room or not in the main building (there's a medical office building and a behavioral health building on the campus that's not directly attached to the hospital) is the responsibility of the emergency department, and they keep a gurney and gear bag parked in the ED hallway for when it does happen.

Same here. We run Rapid Response Teams for a Pt that is about to arrest in some way and Dr. Leo for cardiac arrest. Both include a tech, a nurse, and an MD at a minimum. Everything else, such as a fall or syncope or anything that would otherwise result in 911, is considered a Code Yellow, and an EMT or Paramedic will accompany a nurse with jump bags and stretcher to the patient.

As Unki mentioned, this sounds like a mishap on the dispatch end. Probably couldn't get their head around the fact that the hospital dialed 911. Maybe the hospital did have a response team procedure of some sort, but poor advertisement of the policy resulted in a failure to activate it?
 

MonkeyArrow

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At my hospital, we have a STAT team for patients that are rapidly deteriorating and a code team (an extension of the STAT team) for people actively coding. However, if the pt. is not in his room, then we have to dial a number that I think connects us to security so security can emergently page a code. Maybe the internal hospital notification system failed to work?
 

Rialaigh

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Seems like a poorly written article in the first place. If it took half an hour to dispatch and ambulance and the man waited 30 minutes for the ambulance then it seems like a pretty stellar response time after dispatch... the numbers just don't add up.


Also, the article now states he waited 20 minutes for an ambulance and it took 15-20 minutes for an ambulance to be dispatched. Still, stellar response time with poor dispatch.


All in all, poorly written article that makes me highly doubt the facts. If they coulnd't get the numbers right the first time and then they say "he waited around 20 minutes" then they clearly aren't using an official record of the times...

I hate he died, response times in our county often exceed 20-30 minutes. Was this a dispatch error, possibly. Was this a hospital error, possibly. Was he down for 20 minutes before anyone called 911 or alerted the hospital..possibly...
 

MedicJon88

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We have Code Blue and Rapid Response Teams for patients already admitted into the hospital. ED-Rapid Response Teams for everyone else on hospital grounds, visitors, employees, etc.. It is no longer acceptable to wait for EMS to respond outside hospital grounds while the hospital personnel just wait in the ER. Our team, compose of one ED nurse, at least one ER tech, and public safety responded as far as the parking lot on the other side of the hospital to reach a patient. It is not a difficult task to create such a team. but something always has to happen before change is implemented. This will be the VA's sentinel event.
 

natrab

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One of the hospitals where I work has a similar policy. Their cafeteria is part of the same building that the ED is in, however that section of the building is technically owned by a different entity than the one that owns the ED, meaning their rapid response team will not respond to the cafeteria, even though it is a 50 yard indoor walk to the ED.

I know this because I was eating lunch their while on duty just after dropping off a patient and an elderly woman had a fall and smacked her head on the ground and began bleeding. I've never seen a room full of doctors and nurses clear out so quickly leaving only me and my partner in the room. I asked for a rapid response and the staff informed me that they will not come to the cafeteria because it is not technically part of the hospital. I had to send my partner to the ED entrance to get a wheelchair and ended up wheeling the lady over to the ED myself, which was funny because after talking it over with my supervisor I had to write a full PCR including billing for an ambulance transport (though I assume the hospital ended up covering it).

Overall it's a ridiculous policy and if I hadn't been there, they may have waited 20 minutes for an ambulance to show up. I assume one day this will lead to a similar incident as described in the article.
 

chaz90

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One of the hospitals where I work has a similar policy. Their cafeteria is part of the same building that the ED is in, however that section of the building is technically owned by a different entity than the one that owns the ED, meaning their rapid response team will not respond to the cafeteria, even though it is a 50 yard indoor walk to the ED.

I know this because I was eating lunch their while on duty just after dropping off a patient and an elderly woman had a fall and smacked her head on the ground and began bleeding. I've never seen a room full of doctors and nurses clear out so quickly leaving only me and my partner in the room. I asked for a rapid response and the staff informed me that they will not come to the cafeteria because it is not technically part of the hospital. I had to send my partner to the ED entrance to get a wheelchair and ended up wheeling the lady over to the ED myself, which was funny because after talking it over with my supervisor I had to write a full PCR including billing for an ambulance transport (though I assume the hospital ended up covering it).

Overall it's a ridiculous policy and if I hadn't been there, they may have waited 20 minutes for an ambulance to show up. I assume one day this will lead to a similar incident as described in the article.
Writing this up and billing it as an ambulance transport sounds 100% fraudulent, regardless of who ended up paying.
 

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