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Videos of US patient deaths shock

world Updated: Jul 03, 2008 00:45 IST

AFP
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Video footage of two patients who collapsed and died in US hospital emergency rooms and were apparently ignored by staff has sparked outrage and dismissals, reports said on Wednesday.

The two deaths, which occurred at hospitals in Los Angeles and New York, have led to lawsuits and ultimately helped precipitate the closure of one of the facilities, reports said.

In the Los Angeles case, a video camera showed Edith Isabel Rodriguez writhing on the floor of the emergency room of the Martin Luther King Jr-Harbor Hospital as staff walk past her and a janitor mops the floor near her body.

The footage of the May 2007 incident was sent anonymously to the Los Angeles Times this week, which posted the video on its website on Wednesday.

An anguished phone call to 911 from Rodriguez's boyfriend, in which he pleads for help, has also surfaced.

Los Angeles County had refused to release the footage to Rodriguez's family, saying it contained "confidential, official" information, the Times reported.

The case has triggered three separate lawsuits and also helped to force the troubled hospital's closure last year.

In the New York case, a surveillance tape shows a woman collapsing and dying in the waiting room of the Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn in the face of apparent indifference from other patients and security guards.

Esmin Green had been waiting in the psychiatric emergency room of the hospital for nearly 24 hours when she slumped to the floor on June 19.

More than one hour later a member of staff is seen tapping the woman with his foot in an attempt to wake her.