Because of the nature of the cases handled by emergency room personnel, one can understand that the people working there are usually stressed out and harried.
But for the most part, ER nurses and doctors still act in a professional manner and manage to show some empathy because they know that ER patients and family members are usually scared and need a certain amount of assurance that things will be okay.
But for one West Valley College student, he received exactly the opposite from an ER doctor at El Camino Hospital in Los Gatos, California. In fact, the doctor had repeatedly mocked and insulted him but luckily, the student’s father managed to catch it all on video which led to the doctor’s suspension.
Samuel Bardwell, 20, was taken to the emergency room after he collapsed during basketball practice on Monday night. Bardwell suffers from anxiety attacks and normally takes Klonopin to manage his condition. However, prior to his collapse, he had been off his medication for two days because he wasn’t able to pick up his prescription before the pharmacy had closed.
The 7’1” Bardwell was at his first summer basketball class at West Valley College when the anxiety attack happened. In an interview with The Mercury News, Bardwell’s coach Scott Eitelgeorge recalled that the boy didn’t look too good.
Bardwell only played for five minutes before having to step off the court. He tried to work it off by lifting some weights but ended up collapsing on the grass outside the weights room. Eitelgeorge immediately called 911.
After a four-hour wait at the emergency room, Dr. Beth Keegstra, the ER doctor in the video, finally showed up while accompanied by a security guard.
From the start, Keegstra was already condescending and making snide remarks. Bardwell’s father Donald immediately started recording a video of the exchange on his cellphone.
Keegstra can be seen trying to pull Bardwell up and commanding him to get up on his own as if she didn’t believe that he was really sick.
“I’m sorry sir, you were the least sick of all the people who are here who are dying,” Keegstra can be heard saying.
Donald kept explaining that his son was suffering an anxiety attack and when Bardwell said that he couldn’t get up on his own and that he couldn’t breathe, Keegstra followed up by giving a short laugh and saying, “He can’t inhale? Wow. He must be dead! Are you dead, sir?”
The hospital subsequently suspended Keegstra because of the incident. She had been connected to the hospital since 2010 but is not a staff member there. She was actually a contract doctor working for a firm called Vituity.
In a press statement, Vituity spokeswoman Allison Kundu condemned Keegstra’s behavior saying, “We are saddened that a patient in our care was affected by this behavior and are working to ensure this never happens again.”
She further added that the issue was under investigation and that Keegstra’s name had also been withdrawn “from the schedule at all the hospitals she works at”.
Calls were made to get Keegstra’s statement but they were all unanswered.