They've made Ms. Edith Isabel Rodriguez's autopsy available on the internet.
The medical examiner reports that...it was an accident. That her abdominal pain, and ultimate bowel perforation, was partially secondary to her chronic drug abuse. It seems like the medical evaluation and treatment involved multiple radiologic examinations, hospital admission, evaluation by specialists...the whole deal.
It's difficult to determine if a drug abuser is 'for real this time' . And I do have sympathy for the medical staff as this was a very complicated, and difficult case. It seems as if this woman did, in fact, receive great, comprehensive (expensive) medical care. Actually, it's the fact that she died in the waiting room that makes the case newsworthy...not the fact that she died.
I've read lots of comments on various message boards ranging from:
"She deserves a Darwin Award...she was an illegal immigrant, criminal, homeless, drug-addicted prostitute..who cried wolf one too many times."
to "the entire medical staff should be brought up on premeditated murder."
Both are outrageous, and completely inappropriate points of view. But, in the middle lies the answer.
Edith wasn't an innocent victim absolved of any responsibility, and her family doesn't deserve millions just because she happened to die in the waiting room rather than the ED hallway/chair/floor. She apparently had lots of things going on (diabetes, HTN, cholelithiasis, obesity, drug addiction with sequelae, social issues, and was a frequent flier with inappropriate follow-up). What she died from possibly developed after her hospital evaluation and discharge earlier that same day. It's an unusual diagnosis in a woman her age. And, it sounds like she was appropriately worked up.
But, how horrible is it to see someone die in the ER, begging for help? Perhaps if she would have been reevaluated by an MD, she would have received IV fluids, antibiotics, pressors, and possibly even a surgical evaluation revealing an acute abdomen. This intervention *may* have saved her life if it were possible to clinically recognize the emergency (but it seems like this was no easy task).
Like most of you, my sole source of information regarding this case is via internet, and news media. I am well aware that I don't have enough information to make an informed decision one way or another. It's unfortunate that many of the people who are talking out of their asses don't have this same realization.
The truth, whatever it is, will probably not be revealed in the local paper. And without knowing the truth, thoughts/opinions are a product of media persuasion...
...I'd like to think of myself as an independent, critical thinker.