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Video shows woman writhing on ER floor

July 2, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Surveillance video shows a woman writhing on the emergency room floor at Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital for 45 minutes while hospital staff ignores her.The death of Edith Rodriguez in 2007 made national headlines and proved to be a factor in the closing of King-Harbor Hospital.

Click in the Eyewitness News Story Window above to watch Leanne Suter's report from outside of the hospital.

The surveillance video from a hospital security camera clearly shows Edith Rodriguez riving in pain on the emergency room floor. Hospital staff walks by Rodriguez and ignores her. A janitor even mops the floor around her.

Desperate for help, Rodriguez's boyfriend called 911 to ask that she be transported to a different hospital.

"My wife is dying and the nurses don't want to help her out," he told an emergency dispatcher.

The video, which has been under wraps since the controversial incident last year, was mailed anonymously to the L.A. Times. The newspaper has posted the entire 10-minute tape on its Web site.

The video shows Rodriguez as she falls out of a wheelchair. She lay in pain on the waiting room floor for 45 minutes without receiving care.

"He needs to contact a nurse or a doctor and let them know she's vomiting blood," said a 911 dispatcher. "Paramedics are not going to pick him up or pick his wife up from a hospital because she's already at one."

After several calls to 911 police arrived to take Rodriguez into custody on an outstanding warrant, but she became unresponsive and died in the emergency room.

The attorney representing Rodriguez's family has been trying to get the video released for the last year, but the county has refused. Officials say the tape is confidential information that would jeopardize the ongoing criminal investigation.

In a phone interview, Isabel Rodriguez's attorney Frank Casco, Jr. said the family is upset.

"Our clients need some closure," said Casco. "We had hoped this could be done behind closed doors... now this happened."

Rodriguez's family has three pending lawsuits.

Attorneys for L.A. County want to know who released the tape, since there's a court order barring its release.

 

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