When 54-year-old Anthony Medlin first arrived at Lincoln Hospital, having been transported by ambulance, the hospital’s staff noted the man had a minor facial injury and was mobile. Therefore, they proceeded to label him low risk, and Medlin was forced to wait for a two-hour period of time in the emergency room before being seen. By the time a physician had an opportunity to do a full exam, Medlin was paralyzed from the waist down and was immediately rushed into surgery. But, it was too late — he would remain paralyzed for life.
Turns out, the staff had failed to read through a report filed by the ambulance crew clearly indicating Medlin was hit by a car. After what the man had experienced, he should have received an immediate full body exam at the time of his arrival to rule out any internal trauma.
First responder Shawn Healy said Medlin was discovered in the middle of the street that night. The man had been mugged and ran into a busy street in an effort to escape his attackers, but was hit by a passing vehicle. “Not too many people want to lay on a New York City street, so I don’t know — he just couldn’t get up, didn’t want to get up,” Healy said of the scene when the ambulance first arrived. “Usually when someone gets hit by a car and they’re still on the ground, they’re hurt.”
Healy and his partner strapped Medlin to a longboard and secured a cervical brace around the man’s neck. The ambulance sped away and arrived at the hospital at 11:29 p.m., but it wasn’t until 11:48 p.m. that the triage team spoke with Medlin. By then, the report had been filed indicating Medlin been hit by a car.
A Lincoln nurse acknowledged later that the hospital has no protocol requiring triage staff to review the “pre-hospital care report summary” required of ambulance crews when they bring in a patient. The triage report included a staff-written “No” next to “High Risk,” and described Medlin’s facial trauma as including “Periorbital swelling with abrasions s/p assault. Head trauma. No pain present.”
“They didn’t kill me, but they took my life away,” Medlin, said. He is now wheelchair-bound. “Just to leave me on the side like I’m just a nobody, that really hurt.”
An investigation into emergency room wait times conducted by Daily News noted Lincoln Hospital, the Bronx’s largest public hospital, has one of the worst records for wait times. On average, patients are made to wait 93 minutes before being seen by a physician. Lincoln Hospital also has the highest rate in New York City of individuals who simply walk out before being seen.
Robert de Luna, a spokesperson for city Health and Hospitals, said that Lincoln was recently recertified by the American College of Surgeons, and “is certified as a Level 1 trauma center, at the ready around the clock to save patient lives and provide the highest-quality care.”
However, in July 2014 the emergency care staff reportedly lost track of patient Angel Rivera. He arrived with a head injury and ended up in an irreversible coma that eventually claimed his life. The Daily Mail investigation is ongoing.