Source: Jeff Greenberg / Getty
Long Wait In The Emergency Room Kills Milwaukee Woman
A 25-year-old Black woman waited more than two hours in an emergency room in Milwaukee. When she reportedly left the hospital to find better care elsewhere, she died.
A report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reveals that Tashonna Ward made her way to Froedtert Hospital with tightness of breath and chest pain, but according to her family, she wasn’t under any sort of monitoring while sitting in the waiting room. While the cause of death wasn’t determined, the hospital did provide a statement.
“The family is in our thoughts and has our deepest sympathy,” a spokesperson said. “We cannot comment further at this time.”
This all happened on January 2nd, when the 25-year-old started experiencing chest pains at work, so her sister drove her to the hospital. The Sentinel reports that Ward checked in at 4:58 p.m. Hospital staff checked her heartbeat, which is said to have appeared normal. The chest x-ray, however, showed an enlarged heart–something Ward was already told about when her baby died during pregnancy, the medical report stated.
Ward was asked to stay in the waiting room after the tests, and while waiting to be seen by a doctor, she ended up posting several memes, articles and other messages on her Facebook page. She even included updates about her experience at the hospital, complaining about the system and how long of a wait she’s endured at the emergency room.
“Idk what they can do about the emergency system at freodert but they damn sure need to do something,” Ward posted at 8:35 pm. “I been here since 4:30 something for shortness of breath, and chest pains for them to just say it’s a two to SIX hour wait to see a dr. Like that is really f***in ridiculous.”
After waiting for hours and finally leaving the hospital to find an urgent care clinic, Ward collapsed and had to be rushed back to Froedtert in an ambulance. She was pronounced dead soon after.
As pointed out by Blavity, studies show that just like Ward, Black patients aren’t getting the same quality of health care as white patients are. A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information concluded that Black patients wait for an average of 69 minutes in emergency rooms, while white patients wait 53 minutes. The study goes on to declare that the wait times for Black patients are especially long when the illness isn’t as severe.
“How can you triage someone with shortness of breath and chest pain, and stick them in the lobby?” Ward’s cousin told the Sentinel. “Froedtert needs to change their policy.”