Portland Adventist Hospital in National News Due to Tragic Death

UPDATED HERE.

I started to notice this story pick up momentum on Twitter over Friday and Saturday as folks expressed outrage over this tragic death at the Portland Adventist Medical Center. Now the national media has picked up the story.

The New York Times summarizes the Associated Press copy: "A man died early Friday in a Portland hospital’s parking garage, just 100 feet from the emergency room’s entrance, and the police said no one from the staff of Portland Adventist Medical Center helped as officers tried to revive him. The man, Birgilio Marin-Fuentes, 61, suffered a heart attack in his car. Mr. Marin-Fuentes had driven to the hospital, then crashed into a pillar and wall of the parking garage. Sgt. Pete Simpson, a police spokesman, said that the only medical help the officers received was from an ambulance crew after hospital staff members told an officer to call 911. Hospital officials say they dispatched security officers trained in first aid and a paramedic."

MSNBC has a longer take: 

Officers Angela Luty and Robert Quick found Marin-Fuentes unconscious and unresponsive and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation. A third officer, Andrew Hearst, went to the ER intake desk and told them what was happening.

 

He was told to call emergency services.

 

"The officers recognized this man needed medical attention immediately, and two officers began CPR immediately, and a third officer went to ask for assistance, and they were told they had to wait until an ambulance arrived," said Sgt. Pete Simpson, a Portland Police Bureau spokesman.

 

Judy Leach, a hospital spokeswoman, said emergency room staff was told it was a car crash and they were following the proper protocol by instructing police to summon an ambulance crew.

. . .

But Simpson said officers did not receive any medical assistance and were left to fend for themselves until the ambulance arrived and the crew wheeled Marin-Fuentes the short distance to the emergency room aboard a gurney.

 

"It's a traumatic experience to give CPR and have a person not survive, especially to be that close to a hospital with trained medical personnel right there who could have assisted," Simpson said.

 

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer said Friday he has asked the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to conduct an independent investigation to make sure the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act approved in 1986 was followed.

 

The act requires all Medicare participating hospitals with emergency departments to treat any critically ill patients on their premises, including parking lots, Blumenauer said.

 

Blumenauer said he was "deeply concerned" about the way the incident was handled and has been in contact with both national and state hospital associations "to make sure everybody gets their signals straight."

Northwest Cable News writes: The president and CEO of Adventist Medical Center placed an ad in The Oregonian newspaper Saturday, defending the hospital's treatment of a recent and controversial case.

Tom Russell said in the quarter-page ad that the hospital doesn't have a policy against responding to emergencies in parking facilities on campus.  He said their practice is to always call 911 and send their own staff to respond to incidents.

"We have followed this practice many times in the past year, as we did this past Thursday and will continue to do in the future," Russell said in the ad.

Here is a copy of the ad. The medical center has also issued a press release clarifying some facts:

  • A Portland Police Officer informed us of a car accident in our garage that we believe occurred at least 20 minutes prior. We advised the officer immediately call 911 because EMS have the mobile equipment to respond to a car accident.
  • Before the officer left our Emergency Department, our charge nurse directed a paramedic to go immediately to the scene. She also dispatched our first responders, who are trained security staff, to go outside to the scene of the accident. When the security staff arrived, the police were already doing CPR.
  • Then the nursing supervisor ran out to the garage. She saw that the ambulance and fire department had arrived and were actively preparing the patient for transport to our emergency room.

The Oregonian is reporting that the hospital and Portland police have met in an effort to "continue working on our relationship with our partner, and work toward resolving what happened that night." The many Oregonian comments on this story show a range of reactions from serious criticism of the hospital to discomfort with the investigation.

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Sat, 05/10/2014 | San Diego Adventist Forum
Monique Vincent, PhD candidate, University of Chicago

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