Man visited ER 3 times before dying in Mo. hospital parking lot, family says


ST. PETERS, Mo. (KMOV) - A Missouri family is distraught after their patriarch died. The big question they have - Could their husband and father have been saved?

His wife said they made multiple visits to the emergency room but she says the hospital repeatedly refused to admit him.

“We went because it was close,” said Sadie Bell, the man’s wife. It’s a decision she said she regrets.

“I know I can’t blame myself, but I wish I could’ve took him somewhere else,” she said. “He would give his last to anybody.”

Her husband David Bell died in the parking lot of the Barnes Jewish St. Peters Hospital after he’d been complaining about severe chest pain.

“I felt like what he was going through was urgent, and I thought that’s what emergency rooms are for,” Sadie Bell said.

The weekend of Jan. 8, she took her husband to the ER twice.

Both times, she said medical staff refused to admit the 39-year-old father of three, only prescribing him ibuprofen and diagnosing him with an inflamed heart.

David Bell, who served as board director of Central County Fire and Rescue, went a third time to Barnes Jewish St. Peters, but this time, it was an employee who took him.

Sadie Bell said the employee became concerned after David Bell started having breathing problems.

“I called his fireman, because one of his firemen took him,” Sadie Bell said. “I said, ‘Which hospital did you take him to?’ He said, ‘I went on and took him back to Barnes Jewish because I know that’s where you all had been going.’ I said ‘Oh, I just wish you wouldn’t have took him there.’ He said, ‘Why not?’ And I said, ‘Every time that we have taken him, all they did was give him ibuprofen and sent him home. And I’m really thinking they’re missing something.’”

When she got to the hospital, she said her husband was sitting outside in a wheelchair.

After begging doctors to run tests and admit him, she said they refused.

“He said, ‘Ma’am, he’s already been here twice for the same thing and we’ve already diagnosed him,’” Sadie Bell said.

Fed up, they decided to go to another hospital.

“We got halfway to the car and he said, “Oh Sadie.’ And I said, ‘Baby, what’s wrong?’” she said. “I started running and screaming, ‘Help me, please, help me.’ His eyes went in the back of his head, and he slumped down and I already knew, I knew. When he needed the help, they didn’t help him.”

It is with profound sadness and the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of Central County Fire & Rescue...

Posted by Central County Fire & Rescue on Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Sadie Bell said she believes her husband received a lack of treatment because doctors and staff dismissed him.

National medical reports state African Americans often have higher mortality rates because they don’t receive the same health care as white counterparts.

“I don’t know what they thought. I just don’t understand why they wouldn’t help him,” Sadie Bell said.

Numbers from the American Medical Association show Black Americans’ mortality rate is 24% higher than white Americans.

One of the main contributing factors the AMA points out is doctors not addressing pain levels from Black patients.

“I don’t want any family to feel what we’re feeling right now,” Sadie Bell said.

Barnes Jewish said due to privacy laws, they cannot share details on David Bell’s case.

“When people ask you for help and they need help, I shouldn’t have to come 1, 2, 3 times. I shouldn’t have to be sitting here grieving my husband. I shouldn’t have ... My children shouldn’t not have a father,” Sadie Bell said.

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