Woman dies after waiting hours to be treated in ER

Alex Woodward

A Wisconsin woman with severe chest pains waited for several hours to see a doctor at a hospital's emergency room – but then died on her way to an urgent care facility after posting on social media that she had had to wait up to six hours to receive medical attention.

Tashonna Ward, 25, died on 2 January after visiting Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee with her sister after complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath. Doctors discovered that she had cardiomegaly, or an enlarged heart, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

A medical examiner's report says she was first admitted at 4.48pm.

At 5.45pm, she posted on Facebook: "I really hope I'm not in this emergency room all night."

In March, doctors told Ms Ward that she had developed cardiomegaly during her pregnancy, which doctors discovered following the death of her baby when its umbilical cord was caught around its neck, according to the newspaper.

Nearly an hour after she posted her Facebook update, Ms Ward texted her family that she was still in the waiting room.

An hour later, she posted on Facebook that she would have to wait up to six more hours to see another doctor.

She wrote: "Idk what they can do about the emergency system at freodert [sic] but they damn sure need to do something ... 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."

After waiting for further treatment without any monitoring or care for more than two hours after she was first admitted, she was taken to a nearby urgent care clinic but collapsed before she reached the doors.

After 9pm, an ambulance was bringing Ms Ward back to the hospital. She was unresponsive at the time, according to the report. She was pronounced dead at 11pm.

The family said in a statement that it had "never anticipated that checking in to the emergency room for shortness of breath and chest pain she would be gone", adding: "​She was an amazing daughter, sister, cousin, niece and friend loved by all. Tashonna was always positive and she always put her family first."

In a statement to the Journal Sentinel, the hospital said: "The family is in our thoughts and has our deepest sympathy. We cannot comment further at this time."

Ms Ward's family has established a GoFundMe fundraiser to assist in funeral costs. As of press time, it had reached about $3,200 of its $8,000 goal.

The average hospital emergency department patient in the US waits more than an hour and a half to see a doctor and more than two hours before they're discharged, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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