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Jan 7, 2003

Family says locked gate doomed K.H.M.H. patient

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We’ll never know if the seriously ill patient brought to the emergency room at the K.H.M.H. early Sunday morning would have survived if his reception had been different. But whatever the answer, no one could say that he didn’t deserve the chance. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods reports on the latest disturbing controversy at the nation’s most important medical facility.

Andrea Straker, Sister

“He died outside of the hospital, he didn’t die inside. And he didn’t die outside because the car was driving too slow, or they just didn’t reach. He was already at the gate and he was alive when he was at the gate. He died in the car, waiting for the damn security to open the gate.”

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Is the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital responsible for the death of twenty six year old asthmatic patient, Richard Glenmore Hyde?

Dr. Alvaro Rosado, C.E.O., K.H.M.H.

“I’m not a medical person; I can not speak from any medical background. I can only say that our investigation has shown that the security guard was not where he should have been.”

On Sunday, K.H.M.H. Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Alvaro Rosado launched an investigation into an incident that occurred earlier that day outside of Accident and Emergency. According to Andrea Straker, her brother Hyde, who lives with his girlfriend, was rushed to the hospital by a neighbour after he suffered a severe asthma attack. However, the family claims the neighbour told them that after she arrived she could not drive through as the main gate to get to A and E as it was closed and there was no security guard present at the booth.

Andrea Straker

“The young lady took him to the hospital. She went there and no one was at the gate where she saw. So she blow and blow and blow her horn and she hollered, and she come out of the vehicle and start to holler and knock at the booth for someone to get up or open the gate. She said it went on for twenty minutes and no one didn’t answer, no one.”

There have been conflicting reports that the main gate was locked with a chain and padlock. But Dr. Rosado says the gate is not designed to be locked.

Dr. Alvaro Rosado

“The sliding gate does not have any mechanism for attaching a lock. It is possible, I assume, for somebody to take a chain and lock it. The hospital does not provide such a lock and the policy is for it not to be locked.”

Policy or not, it does not appear that the vehicle was denied access to the hospital. Dr. Rosado says this morning, the young woman who drove the car called to tell him what transpired and she simply said that the gate was closed and there was no one around to help her get Mr. Hyde to A and E.

Dr. Alvaro Rosado

“She came over to the gate approximately 5:10. The patient was in a severe asthmatic distress, finding it very difficult to breathe. She drove up to the gate, the security hut was dark; there was nobody visible. The gates were closed. She attempted to blow her horn, the horn was not working very well, so she exited the car, went to the single gate, not the vehicle gate, the pedestrian gate, pushed it open. It was closed, but not locked. She just pushed it open, ran upstairs to Accident and Emergency, contacted the attendants inside, ask for assistance. The attendant inside immediately responded with a wheelchair and went back to the vehicle. At that time, she is saying the patient apparently was struggling for air and was struggling to get out of the vehicle and had one leg out and was lying on the seat. She said she and the attendant physically put the person back in the car. The attendant then pulled the sliding gate, and she drove the vehicle up to Accident and Emergency where the person was placed in a wheelchair, taken in to see the doctor and was pronounced dead on arrival.”

Rosado says their investigation revealed that there was a delay of just over three minutes to get Hyde to A and E, and the only wrong that may have been committed is that the security guard was not at his post. Rosado would not say whether or not his employee was sleeping on the job; only that he has been suspended pending the outcome of their investigation.

Dr. Alvaro Rosado

“Our investigations reveal that he was not where he should have been. He should have been outside the booth, not inside the booth. But even inside the booth, the lights should have been on and he should have been alert and should have been outside as soon as somebody approaches the gate.”

Hyde died around 5:20 that morning. He will be buried on Wednesday. Meanwhile the family says they will wait for the results of the investigation to see whether or not they will pursue the matter any further. Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

K.H.M.H. installed the gates and increased security after the hospital came under attack by a number of gang members who had entered the hospital, chased a patient and stabbed him several times as he tried to escape in his wheelchair. There have also been other incidents in which hospital staff members have been threatened.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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