A 49 year-old woman entered a Waukegan hospital complaining of typical heart attack symptoms: nausea, shortness of breath, and chest pain. A triage nurse saw the woman fifteen minutes after arrival, classifying her condition as “semi-emergent.”
Twice over the next excruciating two hours, the woman’s daughter asked nurses when her mother would be admitted to see a physician. When her name was eventually called, a nurse found the woman slumped in a waiting room chair without a pulse. Shortly thereafter, she was pronounced dead.
The coroner’s jury concluded that the 49 year-old woman died of a heart attack but also indicated that the death was a result of negligent medical malpractice: gross deviations from the standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in this situation.