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Hospital Claims All Guidelines Met after Bronx Man Dies in ER Waiting Room

A 30-year-old New York City man died in a Bronx hospital while waiting for emergency care.  Joe Verrier, who had come to St. Barnabas Hospital for treatment for a rash, was found dead eight hours after arriving at the facility and checking in with triage nurses.

According to the hospital, Verrier checked in late in the evening on Jan. 19 and was told to take a seat to wait. After not responding to his name several times during the night, Verrier was found dead by hospital staff early in the morning on Jan. 20.

“He was found stiff, blue and cold,” a hospital worker told ABC News on the condition of remaining anonymous. “He died because [there’s] not enough staff to take care of the number of patients we see each day. We need more staff at Saint Barnabas.”

Hospital spokesperson Steve Clark emphasized that while the death of Verrier was unfortunate the hospital did nothing wrong in the case, and “all guidelines” for patient care were met, according to an in-house investigation conducted after discovering the man dead in the ER waiting room.

Clark pointed out that Verrier had been asked to wait inside the ER itself where he could have been more closely observed but  instead chose to exit the ER and wait in the waiting room.  While there, he was checked on at least once by hospital staff.

At 2 am, when hospital security passed through the waiting room to rouse the homeless persons that often camp out in the waiting room at night, Verrier was observed and was still alive according to the hospital spokesperson.  Then, at 3:45 am he appeared moving on a security camera.

“After 6, when security did another pass, he was dead,” the hospital spokesman said, stressing that during the night, “his name was called several times on several occasions, and he did not respond.”

The employee, who agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity, though, said Clark’s account of the night’s events do not match up with the reality of the busy Bronx ER.

“There’s no policy in place to check the waiting room to see if people waiting to be seen are still there or still alive,” the worker said, “He was not checked on….based on the number of people in the waiting room, it is impossible to check on each person physically.”

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Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.