January 19, 2019

Woman had a stroke near top ranked Wisconsin hospital, died because ambulance was turned away

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Tiffany Tate, a 37-year-old lady from Wisconsin, passed away after having a stroke and being turned away by one of the area’s best hospitals.

Tate started feeling bad as she was getting ready to work the breakfast shift at the Medical College of Wisconsin’s cafeteria. Once she got to work, she told her co-workers that she had a headache and felt weak.

Soon after 8 a.m., Tate asked the co-worker for a slice of bread with honey as she was feeling considerably worse. When the woman returned with the bread, Tate was leaning against a counter. It became clear that she was having a stroke.

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Strokes kill about 140,000 people each year only in the US, which means it is the fifth leading cause of death. In simple words, it happens when a blood clot blocks an artery and, depending on the time the person gets professional help, it can cause permanent disability and even the death.

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SO CLOSE AND YET SO FAR

In Tate’s case, she was only 350 yards away from Froedtert Hospital, the zone’s best care center when it comes to strokes. Even though Tate’s ambulance was supposed to get to that hospital in no time, they turned them away. The controversial tactic is officially called “ambulance diversion.”

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It happens when emergency rooms metaphorically hang a “temporarily closed” sign, making ambulances to go away to a different medical facility. Tate’s ambulance was sent to Aurora West Allis Medical Center - three miles away – that was not as advanced in stroke care as Froedtert Hospital was.

Tiffany Tate's husband, Alvin Blalock | Source: YouTube/The Young Turks

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BOUNCING AROUND HOSPITALS

Aurora West Allis couldn’t take care of the case, so they sent Tate to Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center. Three-and-a-half hours after Tate the stroke began, she arrived at the medical center. Soon later, the mother-of-two died.

Tiffany Tate and her son, Alex | Source: YouTube/The Young Turks

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Experts believe that if Tate would have been treated in Froedtert Hospital, chances are that she would have survived.

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AN AMBULANCE THAT NEVER ARRIVED

It is not the first time that an ambulance is negatively involved in a case. 65-year-old Gigi Fois called the emergency services because his wife fell and injured her ankle. The man tried to help her, but she was too heavy for him to lift her.

The ambulance service said that they could only get to the house in about four hours. Time passed, the 60-year-old lady, who had suffered a stroke six years before that incident, was still on the floor, and the ambulance never came.

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