Woman dies in the ER after waiting more than two hours to see a doctor

Family members of the Milwaukee native report that even though she complained about chest pain and shortness of breath, no doctor ever saw her

Wide photo of Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, including the Cancer Pavilion (opened 2008). Courtesy of Wiki Commons

Tashonna Ward waited in a Milwaukee hospital emergency room for several hours seeking help until she collapsed and died.

Ward, a 25-year-old daycare teacher from Milwaukee, died on Jan. 2 while awaiting assistance for chest pain and shortness of breath and after repeated attempts to see a doctor, according to USA Today.

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Now Ward’s family wants answers from Froedtert Hospital and is scheduled to meet with representatives from the hospital next week.

“How can you triage someone with shortness of breath and chest pain and stick them in the lobby?” Ward’s cousin, Andrea Ward, told USA Today. “Froedtert needs to change their policy.”

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office is still determining her cause of death, but Ward’s family wants to know why she spent more than two hours in the ER seeking help before she felt forced to leave to attempt to find quicker care, and later, collapsed.

According to the family, Ward began experiencing chest pain and difficulty breathing during work in the afternoon of Jan. 2. According to the medical examiner’s report, Ward’s sister drove her to the hospital and they checked in at 4:58 p.m. Froedtert staff used an electrocardiogram to check her heartbeat, and this reportedly appeared normal, according to the medical report. When staff conducted a chest X-ray, it showed cardiomegaly, which is an enlarged heart, a condition that can increase the chances of a person going into cardiac arrest.

This wasn’t news to Ward. USA Today says last March, after her baby died when the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck, Ward was told she had developed an enlarged heart while pregnant.

Ward’s family believe that the hospital personnel left Ward in the ER waiting room without any monitoring when the long wait time prompted her to leave.

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In a statement, a Froedtert hospital spokesperson said “The family is in our thoughts and has our deepest sympathy. We cannot comment further at this time.”

Ward made several posts on Facebook about the length of time she spent in the ER waiting to see a doctor. She told her mom that she asked the front desk several times to be seen but was forced to wait.

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