Tashonna Ward, 25, spent hours in the same building as doctors, waiting to be seen by one of them. She left that hospital to go to an urgent care clinic.
She never made it. Tashonna died on January 2, without ever getting the medical attention she sought from not one but two healthcare facilities, her family has said.
Her chest started hurting and Tashonna was having trouble breathing at work at L&M Links child care center that Thursday and had her her sister driver her to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.
Tashonna arrived there around 5pm. Over the next couple of hours she sent multiple texts and posted no Facebook several times, including a 7:35pm post revealing that the hospital had told Tashonna she might have to wait two to six hours to be seen.
Her family is stunned and heartbroken over the loss of Tashonna as well as by how many have said Tashonna’s tragedy resonates with them and their experiences at the hospital, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
After developing chest pain and shortness of breath, Tashonna Ward, 25, went to the ER of Froedtert Hospital in Wisconsin (left). But after 2.5 hours of waiting she hadn’t been seen, left, and ultimately collapsed and died on January 2 (right)
Tashonna came to the hospital complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath and she allegedly had a an enlarged heart, something that would have been documented in her medical history.
In emergency room triage, patients with chest pain are supposed to be among the first seen.
But Tashonna was deferred.
According to the Journal Sentinel, the hospital staff gave Tashonna an electrocardiogram to assess her heartbeat.
The results were reportedly normal, although her chest X-ray showed her enlarged heart, consistent with her previous diagnosis.
Tashonna had given birth to a baby a few months prior, but the child was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck and, tragically, died.
After her electrocardiogram, Tashonna was made to wait once more.
At the time of publication, Froedtert’s website said the ER wait time was nine minutes. A ProPublica analysis suggests patients may wait some four hours and 44 minutes
While she waited and tried to keep her cool, she posted to Facebook, writing at 5:45pm: ‘I really hope I’m not in this emergency room all night.’
At the time of publication, Froedtert’s website listed the wait time for its ER as nine minutes.
But ProPublica’s ER inspector tool lists the average time it took ER patients four hours and 44 minutes to be admitted.
Those who were sent home were usually dismissed in less than four hours. Only three percent left without seeing a doctor.
Increasingly frustrated, she posted again at 7:35pm.
‘Idk what they can do about the emergency system at freodert (sic) but they damn sure need to do something,’ Tashonna wrote.
‘I been here since 4:30 something for shortness of breath, and chest pains for them to just say it’s a two to SIX hour wait to see a dr.’
Tashonna posted several frustrated updates on Facebook as she waited to be seen. After a recent pregnancy, Tashonna (left picture and left of right picture) was diagnosed with an enlarged heart
She would wind up among the three percent of patients who leave Froedtert unattended.
Tashonna was picked up and went home for her insurance card, according to the Journal Sentinel, then was purportedly headed to urgent care.
Froedtert called Tashonna’s cell phone at 8:39pm, according to the Journal Sentinel.
It was her sister, Briana who picked up, because Tashonna was on the ground. The 25-year-old had collapsed.
An ambulance came but it was too late. Tashonna was dead shortly after 9pm.
Tashonna’s mother, Yolanda, took to Facebook to post her devastation over the loss of her daughter. The family has been shocked by how many others faced long wait times at Froedtert
After Tashonna’s death and the echoes of bad experiences at Froedtert, Tashonna’s cousin said that more people need to advocate for themselves. Pictured: Tashonna, the day before she died
With nothing they can do to bring Tashonna back, her family and friends have instead taken to GoFundMe and Facebook to alert others to what’s happened and raise money for funeral arrangements.
On post has already garnered 860 comments. While her family is appreciative of the solidarity and support, the hundreds reaching out to them are a sign of something more sinister, they worry.
‘I was so shocked to see the comments,’ Andrea Ward, Tashonna’s cousin, told the Journal Sentinel.
‘What that means is people don’t know how to advocate for themselves.’
It’s not clear how many patients die while waiting to be seen by hospitals each year, but a 2012 study linked overcrowding in hospitals to a five percent higher risk that patients will die before they’re discharged from the facility.
Froedtert had not responded to request for comment at the time of publication.