Untreated patient dies of heart attack in CA hospital

It's now official that a 33-year-old man who died in a Los Angeles medical center died because his heart attack wasn't diagnosed, despite his spending three hours in its emergency department. A coroner found that the man, Christopher Jones, died from a blood clot and coronary heart disease.

Though they did take his vitals, it appears that the triage staff at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center didn't give the man an EKG, despite being told that he had arm pain, chest pain and chills. This runs counter to standards created by the American College of Cardiology, which strongly advises hospitals to provide an EKG for patients with such symptoms, then continue to administer EKGs every 15 to 30 minutes if the original test shows no results.

Since the incident, the county Department of Health Services has announced that it's planning to fire the triage nurse involved in screening Jones. Also, the hospital is retraining doctors and nurses on triage policy, and also changing the way it assesses ED patients who complain of chest pain.

To learn more about this incident:
- read this Los Angeles Times item

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