Wisconsin woman dies after leaving ER after hours of waiting

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MILWAUKEE, W.I. (CBS) – A 25-year-old Wisconsin woman, Tashonna Ward, was laid to rest this week after a medical odyssey that left her family with heartbreaking questions about what happened in a hospital emergency room earlier this month.

Ward left the ER after waiting for hours without receiving care, and before she could get to another facility, she died.

On January 2, Ward went to Froedtert Hospital’s emergency room with her sister, Brianna, for shortness of breath and chest pain, CBS affiliate WDJT reports. A preliminary chest X-ray was performed, but Ward was never admitted and was sent to continue waiting in the lobby.

“I really hope I’m not in this emergency room all night,” Ward wrote on Facebook at 6:45 p.m, while she was waiting in the hospital’s lobby. “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.”

After several hours of waiting, Brianna picked up her sister and attempted to drive her to another hospital, but Ward lost consciousness in the car. Brianna called 911, but paramedics were unable to revive Ward. 

Ward’s mother, Yolanda, is demanding answers from the hospital about the “unacceptable” wait time. 

“I don’t think they care,” Yolanda said. “I’m sorry, but I really don’t think they cared about my daughter. She should not have been waiting out there that long.”

A report from the Milwaukee County medical examiner revealed this week that Ward was in the ER for two and a half hours. The chest X-ray showed she had cardiomegaly, an enlarged heart. 

After Brianna called 911, Ward was taken in an ambulance back to Froedtert and pronounced dead that night, the report said. 

While the Ward family and a lawyer were set to meet with Froedtert Hospital’s president Thursday, a spokesperson for the hospital said that the meeting never happened. 

“At the request of the family, no meeting has occurred. We respect their wishes and privacy during this difficult time,” the spokesperson said on Friday. “They continue to be in our thoughts and have our deepest sympathy. Due to patient privacy laws, we cannot comment further at this time.” 

The Ward family held a memorial service on Wednesday. They said the money raised from a GoFundMe page will go towards both the funeral expenses and helping to change “protocols and legislation tied to long wait times in the ER.” 

“She was an amazing daughter, sister, cousin, niece and friend loved by all,” her family wrote of Ward. “Tashonna was always positive and she always put her family first.” 

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