This one caught on video:
The staff apparently documented her up and around during the time that she lay dead on the floor. The report is a little unclear, but it sounds to me as if this took place in the ER's waiting room, involving a patient who had been committed for psychiatric reasons but was waiting for an inpatient bed.
While the angle the media will play on this is the indifference of the staff and other patients, the real story can be found here:
The psychiatric unit at Kings County Hospital had been a subject of complaints by advocates for the mentally ill.ERs are overcrowded and underfunded. Psychiatric units are even worse off, and patients nationwide will languish in ERs for days waiting for psych beds, preventing more urgent patients from being seen. Nothing has changed since the Institute of Medicine published its report: Emergency Care at the Breaking Point. Expect to see more of these in the coming months and years. And expect to see the media gin up outrage at the callousness of the staff, missing entirely the larger public policy picture.
A state agency, the New York State Mental Hygiene Legal Service, filed a lawsuit a year ago, calling the psychiatric center "a chamber of filth, decay, indifference and danger." [...]
The suit was especially critical of the hospital's emergency ward, saying it is so poorly staffed that patients are often marooned there for days while they wait to be evaluated. Sometimes, the unit runs out of chairs, according to the lawsuit, forcing people to wait on foam mats or on the waiting room floor.
In defense of the staff -- many times I have seen patients dramatically and histrionically throw themselves to the floor, and moreover, if these patients were in truth supposed to sit in chairs for 24 hours while waiting for beds, I suspect that it may not have been uncommon for a patient to take a nap on the floor. So the presence of a patient supine on the ground may not have been as uncommon as you might think at first blush. Yes, I suspect that there was some inattention by the staff -- but I wonder whether it was negligent, or whether they were simply overworked and engaging in care for other patients? There's no way to know.
My point here is really that the problem is not bad care per se, but patients languishing in waiting room chairs for hours on end.