Hospital officials confirmed that 30-year-old Jon Verrier was found dead eight hours after he arrived at Saint Barnabas Hospital in West Bronx seeking treatment for a rash.
“He was found stiff, blue and cold,” an employee told ABC News. “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.”
Officials said Verrier checked into the ER at 10 p.m. Jan. 19 and was found about 6:40 a.m. the following morning.
A hospital spokesman said Verrier was registered, assessed and told to wait in the ER for a doctor, but he returned for some reason to sit in the waiting room.
The spokesman said Verrier’s name was called two or three times but he never answered, and he was apparently still alive when a security guard made a routine check at 2 a.m. to chase away homeless people.
Surveillance video shows Verrier alive and moving at 3:45 a.m., the spokesman said, but a security guard found his lifeless body about three hours later.
The spokesman said an in-house review found “all guidelines were met,” but an ER worker told WABC-TV the policy should be changed.
“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,” said the ER worker.
Verrier had struggled with drug addiction and been to the hospital before, but his family said he’d been clean for months and living at home.
Family members said they learned of his death after hearing news reports about a man found dead at Saint Barnabas.
“Deep down inside I knew it was him,” said brother Charles Verrier.
Medical examiners have not yet determined a cause of death.
Patients at Saint Barnabas wait an average of 306 minutes to be treated and released, compared to the average 155-minute wait statewide and 137-minute nationwide average, according to Medicare statistics.
It takes seriously injured patients about 112 minutes to receive pain medication for broken bones, compared to the statewide average of 63 minutes and nationwide average of 59 minutes.
“No one should sit in the waiting room that long,” said mother Susan Verrier. “I’m sorry, name calling over the loud speaker proves nothing, nothing.”
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