The Knucklehead of the Day award
Today's winner is The Bay Pines VA Medical Center. They get the award for the following.
ST. PETERSBURG - Officials at Bay Pines VA Medical Center were told the condition of a critically ill cardiac patient before their emergency room refused to treat him on June 26.Utter stupidity and a man is dead. This shouldn't have ever happened, a person suffering a heart attack needs immediate medical care at the nearest hospital or medical facility. For failing the community they are supposed to serve, The Bay Pines VA Medical Center is today's Knucklehead of the Day.
But a doctor who made the decision did not realize the man, a Bay Pines employee who later died, had collapsed on the Bay Pines campus.
A hospital nurse was told in a call from a paramedic that the man, 51-year-old Mark A. Surette, had collapsed on Bay Pines property. But she was confused because paramedics usually do not ask permission to bring patients to the emergency room, the hospital said.
"The nurse misunderstood," said John Pickens, regional spokesman for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Surette, a 25-year VA employee, collapsed of a heart attack in Building 24, perhaps 200 feet from the hospital emergency room.
Since he wasn't a veteran, confused paramedics asked Bay Pines if its emergency room would treat Surette. Paramedics were directed to take him to St. Petersburg General Hospital, three miles away.
Surette was pronounced dead at that hospital, about 41 minutes after 911 was called.
Bay Pines and county officials say they don't know if the delay cost Surette his life. But Surette's family is outraged.
"Nobody ever told us they refused to treat him," said Surette's daughter, Erica Bailey, 23, of Minot, N.D. "Then to find out they knew how sick he was and still turned him away, it just blows my mind."
The VA did not identify the doctor who decided against treating Surette or the nurse who took the call from a paramedic.
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