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Two Women Left to Die by Authorities

Philip Barron: Institutional disregard claims two lives, half a country apart.
 
 
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Two dead women, half a country apart. One of them dying in a failing hospital in Los Angeles, the other while being held in a St. Louis jail. Both of them failed by systems and authorities charged with watching over them. The Los Angeles case is making national news, while the St. Louis matter remains a local story...for the moment.

In Los Angeles:

A woman who lay bleeding on the emergency room floor of a troubled inner-city hospital died after 911 dispatchers refused to contact paramedics or an ambulance to take her to another facility, newly released tapes of the emergency calls reveal.

Edith Isabel Rodriguez, 43, died of a perforated bowel on May 9 at Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital. Her death was ruled accidental by the Los Angeles County coroner's office. [...]

County and state authorities are now investigating Rodriguez's death. Relatives reported she died as police were wheeling her out of the hospital after the officers they had asked to help Rodriguez arrested her instead on a parole violation. Sheriff's Department spokesman Duane Allen said Wednesday that the investigation is ongoing. [...]

The incident was the latest high-profile lapse at King-Harbor, formerly known as King/Drew. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is investigating claims of recent patient care breakdowns, including Rodriguez's case.

Federal inspectors last week said emergency room patients were in "immediate jeopardy" of harm or death, and King-Harbor was given 23 days to shape up or risk losing federal funding.

Philip Barron is a St. Louis writer and author of the blog Waveflux.

 
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