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Death in Illinois ER declared Homicide

The death of a heart attack patient, who spent nearly 2 hours in the waiting room of the hospital, was declared to be a homicide by a coroner's jury.//

Beatrice Vance, 49, died of a heart attack, but her death was ruled 'a result of gross deviations from the standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in this situation.' Vance died on July 29 at the Vista Medical Center in Waukegan. A spokeswoman of that center refused to comment on the ruling.

Deputy Coroner Robert Barrett testified that Vance had waited nearly two hours for a doctor to examine her after complaining of classic heart attack symptoms nausea, shortness of breath and chest pains.

'A triage nurse saw her about 15 minutes after she arrived, and the nurse classified her condition as 'semi-emergent,' Barrett said. He said, 'Vance's daughter twice asked nurses after that when her mother would see a doctor.' 'When her name was finally called, a nurse found Vance slumped unconscious in a waiting room chair without a pulse. She was pronounced dead shortly afterward, 'Barrett said.

Barrett subpoenaed records after finding discrepancies in the hospital's version of events.

It was not clear whether the ruling would lead to criminal charges. Dan Shanes, a chief of felony review for the state attorney's office, said his division needed to re-examine the case.

Vista Medical Center spokeswoman Cheryl Maynen said, 'The hospital, just north of Chicago, cooperated with the coroner's investigation and had also investigated the incident.'

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