Tashonna Ward, a 25-year-old Wisconsin day care teacher, collapsed on her way to urgent care after she waited for almost three hours in the ER waiting room at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee County medical examiner has not yet determined an official cause of death, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Prior to her death on January 2, Ward checked into the hospital around 4:58 p.m.complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath, which of course caused great discomfort.
Ward was looked at by staff who checked her vitals, and also surveyed her heartbeat with an electrocardiogram which showed her heartbeat was normal. However, a chest X-ray revealed Ward suffered an enlarged heart or a cardiomegaly, which can lead to blood clots or cardiac arrest.
Ward unfortunately experienced this diagnosis prior to her visit when she was told that she developed an enlarged heart during her pregnancy last year. But she suffered heartbreaking loss after the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck.
It is unclear whether the cardiomegaly was a chronic presence or if she suffered a flare up on the day she visited the emergency room.
Ward’s progress was tracked through social media posts and texts to her family from 5:45 to about 7:35 p.m. In her last Facebook post she expressed that she did not want to spend her evening sitting in the waiting room.
Ward decided to take the matter into her own hands and left the hospital around 7:30 p.m. to seek medical attention at a local urgent care center. She made a stop at her house to pick up her insurance card, but soon collapsed. Around 8:39 p.m. Froedtert Hospital called her cell phone, but the call was answered by her sister who informed staff that family was waiting for an ambulance to arrive.
An ambulance arrived around 9:07 p.m., but responders found her unresponsive and shortly after pronounced her as dead.
“The family is in our thoughts and has our deepest sympathy. We cannot comment further at this time,” reads a statement obtained by the Sentinel from a hospital spokesperson.
Ward’s family is seeking answers and is rightfully angry at the circumstances surrounding their loved ones death. Family members are scheduled to meet with hospital administrators next week.
“How can you triage someone with shortness of breath and chest pain and stick them in the lobby?” said Ward’s cousin, Andrea Ward. “Froedtert needs to change their policy.”
“I would like people to know the family is devastated and heartbroken,” Andrea Ward said in a statement provided to Atlanta Black Star. “It is inexcusable and our family would like answers and [for] the people responsible to be fired immediately. It’s sad we had to lose a family member for people to see our health care system sucks.”