Missouri man, 39, died in hospital parking lot after being turned away 3 times: report

'I just don't understand why they wouldn't help him,' said David Bell's wife of Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital.

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New details are emerging about the incident last month in which a Black man was turned away from a hospital three times, despite pleas from his wife that he be admitted. 

That man, David Bell, the board director of the Central County Fire & Rescue, subsequently died in the facility parking lot.

David Bell died in the parking lot at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital in St. Peters, Missouri, where he complained of chest pain, and officials reportedly refused to treat him. (GoFundMe.com)

Bell, 39, and his wife, Sadie, went to the emergency room at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital in St. Peters, Missouri, where the man complained of chest pain. Mrs. Bell said she took her husband to the ER twice during the weekend of Jan. 8, and both times, staff refused to admit him. He was diagnosed with an inflamed heart and prescribed ibuprofen. 

However, on the third time, Bell was at work and struggling to breathe. An employee took him to the same hospital and notified his wife.

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“I said, ‘Which hospital did you take him to?’’ Mrs. Bell told a local NBC affiliate. “He said, ‘I went on and took him back to Barnes-Jewish because I know that’s where you all had been going.’” 

“I said ‘Oh, I just wish you wouldn’t have took him there,’” she continued. “He said, ‘Why not?’ And I said, ‘Every time that we have taken him, all they did was give him ibuprofen and sent him home. And I’m really thinking they’re missing something.’”

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Mrs. Bell arrived at the hospital to find Bell sitting outside the hospital in a wheelchair. Again, she pleaded with the hospital staff to admit him and run additional tests, and they were turned away again. As the two were leaving to go to another hospital, her husband and father of their three children died in the parking lot.

He collapsed, and someone tried, unsuccessfully, to administer CPR.

According to a report published in July by The Washington Post, racism in health care leads to increasing health disparities among African Americans, who suffer disproportionately from chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease. 

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“The CDC,” it read, “is urging health-care providers to follow a standard protocol with all patients, and to ‘[i]dentify and address implicit bias that could hinder patient-provider interactions and communication.'”

Sadie Bell did not definitively state that she believed her husband’s race played a part in the way he was treated at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital.

“I don’t know what they thought,” she said. “I just don’t understand why they wouldn’t help him.” 

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