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'Where was the compassion?'

June 15, 2007

Re "Tragic catch 9-11 for dying woman," June 13

The shocking death of Edith Rodriguez, who lay on the floor of Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital's emergency room lobby, repeatedly ignored and unattended as she vomited blood, is inexcusable. True healthcare professionals know that severe pain or illness results in patient behavior that may be difficult to deal with. With a perforated bowel, Rodriguez had every reason to be irrational. Where was the compassion? Obviously the good Samaritan who called 911, despite being a stranger to Rodriguez, had more compassion than all the others who had a role in this tragic situation.

All ERs should analyze their protocols in light of what happened to Rodriguez so such a travesty never happens again.

LISA MERRYMAN

San Clemente

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Re "King medical chief is ousted; nursing woes are disclosed," June 13

The problem isn't only hospital management but the entire incompetent staff. Replace every doctor and nurse -- all should be held accountable for not responding to pleas for help. When someone calls 911 from a hospital just to get assistance for a patient when no doctor or nurse would help -- that's inexcusable and inhumane. Fire everyone there and get qualified people to run the hospital. Otherwise, have an outside company run it. The L.A. County supervisors aren't doing their jobs well enough to stop this from happening. Fire them too.

JOHN C. WEAVER

Palmdale

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The recent articles depicting the continuing negligence at King-Harbor county hospital and the resulting death of a woman in acute pain on the ER reception room floor are now well known to every caring Angeleno.

Did the Board of Supervisors use all means possible -- together with tens of millions of county dollars -- to put the hospital in order? Sadly, no. The culture of the old Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center remains. How can this be? Simply put, a significant number of staff remained and were not terminated or transferred.

Initially, the board stated that a completely new staff would take over. However, this did not occur, and now we see the tragic results. A drastic situation requires drastic action. So-called sensitivity training or examining nursing staff is a waste of time. The only way to meaningfully change King-Harbor is to have a totally new medical and administrative staff not connected to the previous one. Anything less will only result in further tragedy. Angelenos deserve better.

DAVID AMITAI

Los Angeles

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I recall Yvonne Brathwaite Burke about two years ago saying, "That hospital will be closed over my dead body."

Well, Yvonne?

MARGERY SUCHER

Garden Grove

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