Lawsuit: ER was more worried about money than patient's health

EMBED </>More Videos

The lawsuit claims the staff at Doctor's Hospital was more interested in getting paid than providing care. It's an allegation the hospital strongly denies. (KTRK)

Was a Houston hospital more concerned with payments than treatment? It's the question a lawsuit seeks to answer after a Houston man died due to anaphylactic shock.

The lawsuit claims the staff at Doctor's Hospital was more interested in getting paid than providing care. It's an allegation the hospital strongly denies.

"The doctor just went out and he said there was nothing else they could do, that he was dead," girlfriend Sandra De Leon said.

De Leon cannot hold back the tears when speaking about the night her boyfriend Baldo Flores, Jr. died.

"It's heartbreaking that you go to the ER or emergency room and you don't get what you are expecting," she said.

Flores died in December 2013 after being taken to Doctor's Hospital in an HFD ambulance.

It's what happened next that has the Flores family seeking legal action.

"This is an unnecessary death," attorney Les Weisbrod said.

Weisbrod says the ER staff wasted precious time gathering payment information from Sandra DeLeon before treating Flores.

According to the lawsuit filed by the family, Flores had been given antibiotics earlier in the day from a clinic affiliated with the hospital then sent home. As his conditioned worsened, an ambulance was called and Flores was brought to Doctor's Hospital on West Tidwell.

According to the lawsuit, the EMT's reported that Flores' throat was swelling, he was running a fever and his heart rate was 160.

Attorneys say despite that information it took 26 minutes for hospital staff to look at Flores. The family says 14 minutes later Flores was unresponsive and had still not seen a doctor.

The lawsuit states it took 45 minutes from the time Flores walked in the door for actual treatment to begin.

Lawyers say Flores was in a state of anaphylactic shock but not treated for that condition until 10:35, a delay of one hour and 54 minutes. By 11:26, Flores was dead.

"When they go to an emergency room they should not have to wait on insurance and financial information to get treated," Weisbrod said.

Officials from Doctor's Hospital on Friday denied the allegation that staff was more concerned about payments than treatment. Officials here told me a 26-minute ER wait is not uncommon. We found that 24 minutes is the state and national average for ER wait times.

The lawsuit also takes aim at state law that limits payments in wrongful deaths lawsuits like this one to just $500,000 -- a measure that was approved by voters back in 2003.

"The rules are rigged against patients that go to emergency rooms and seek emergency care," attorney Domingo Garcia said.

The lawsuit was filed Friday and the family is seeking more than $1 million in damages. We asked the hospital for a formal statement regarding the lawsuit but have not heard back.
Related Topics:
action 13Houston
(Copyright ©2018 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.)