On its surface it is an Oregon wrongful death story so unbelievable it reads like the plot of a prime time police drama: a man feeling ill and heading for the hospital suffers a heart attack, crashes his car into a wall inside the hospital’s parking structure only steps from the emergency room entrance… then lies there, unconscious, for 20 minutes before anyone notices him. When summoned to the scene, the police attempt to revive him while sending another officer running into the emergency room for help – only to be told that hospital protocol requires the police to call 911 first and then wait for a dispatcher to give a formal order for the hospital’s own ambulance to pick up a patient lying only steps from the emergency room door, according to an account published in The Oregonian.
The heart attack victim, Birgilio Marin-Fuentes eventually made it into the emergency room, but was pronounced dead a short time later. The week since this Oregon hospital death has been marked by finger pointing between the police and the hospital, Portland Adventist, a threat from a U.S. congressman to investigate the hospital and seeming incomprehension throughout the city at how bureaucracy could have gotten so badly in the way of what would seem to be simple common sense.
However this case is eventually resolved on a criminal level, it raises serious questions that may also need to be resolved in civil court, via a Portland wrongful death or Portland medical malpractice lawsuit. Even if there were compelling reasons to adhere to procedures designed to dispatch emergency care across town, rather than across the hospital’s own parking lot, one needs to ask, in turn, why the emergency protocols themselves were so rigid.
Questions like these are best addressed with the help of a Portland wrongful death attorney who specializes in Oregon medical malpractice and personal injury law. A skilled legal specialist can advise families and survivors on the best ways to obtain justice in the wake of what can seem like a particularly senseless tragedy.
The Oregonian: Portland police try to save a life just outside Portland Adventist Medical Center