Patient waits for days in ER

February 20, 2008 4:39:38 PM PST
Mattie Lee Allen, a dialysis patient, was taken to Maria Parham Hospital Monday, but the Henderson Hospital has no dialysis unit.

Family members say Allen grew weaker as hours turned into days in the ER. The felt she was running out of time so they called Eyewitness News.

"The health care system is apparently broken and we need to fix it," Allen's daughter, Dorrine Allen said. "We just can't have people who are seriously ill, gravely ill like my mother. Just waiting and waiting for what? I don't know."

Dorrine is upset that her mother, a dialysis patient has been waiting for two days in a hospital with no dialysis unit. She was sent to Parham when she fell ill during a treatment off site.

Parham was too crowded to give Allen her own room so they gave her a bed in the ER while she waited for dialysis space to open at Duke, UNC or Durham Regional.

Dialysis patients face illness, even death, if their bodies aren't cleared regularly of toxins. So the wait was agonizing.

"That's what's really frightening," Dorrine said. "Don't know when she'll get a bed, or if she'll get one in time. If she gets one. Will it be too late?"

An hour after Eyewitness News arrived, Dorrine got the news that she'd been waiting for. A bed was open at a Durham hospital with a dialysis unit. One hour later Mattie Allen was transferred as her thrilled daughter looked on.

"I'm just so happy right now that my Mom is finally gonna have a bed," Dorrine said. "And hope that she can get the care that she needs."

Allen was taken to Durham Regional and is scheduled for dialysis Thursday morning.


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