Family says Milwaukee woman died after waiting in ER for hours without treatment

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Updated: 10:26 p.m. on Jan. 8, 2020

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Ward family says after the CBS 58 story aired Tuesday, Froedtert Hospital’s president called Yolanda.

They say a meeting was set up for next week, and Yolanda can bring two people. She would like one of them to be an attorney.

The family says they were assured the hospital would not have lawyers in the meeting.

Federal law protects people who go to emergency rooms.

Hospitals must screen for, and treat, emergency medical conditions of patients.

As for wait times, Froedtert posts its average ER wait times online. They update every ten minutes.

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Posted: 7:49 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2020


MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A Milwaukee mother wants an explanation from Froedtert Hospital as she mourns her daughter who died last week after a visit to the emergency room.

Shonna Ward’s sister, Brianna, says she dropped Shonna off with symptoms of shortness of breath and chest pains.

The Ward family says Shonna was never admitted and on the way to another hospital, she died. She was 25.

Shonna posted a Facebook status as she waited, writing, “Idk what they can do about the emergency system at freodert but they damn sure need to do something. I been here since 4:30 something for shortness of breath, and chest pains for them to just say it’s a two to SIX hour wait to see a dr.”

"I don't think they care,” said Yolanda Ward, Shonna’s mother. “I'm sorry but I really don’t think they cared about my daughter. She should not have been waiting out there that long."

Brianna says she picked Shonna up, then Shonna lost consciousness in the car.

She called 911, but paramedics couldn’t save her.

The family says the medical examiner told them Shonna died of an enlarged heart. They’re still waiting on the official toxicology report.

"She didn't even have a band on her wrist [when I picked her up] so she was never even processed in,” Brianna said. “All they did was take her to the back, do chest x-rays, send her back in the lobby. She was never even admitted."

Carolyn Ward, Shonna’s aunt, says the long wait time is unacceptable. She and Yolanda want to know the hospital’s treatment policy.

We asked Froedtert last week to explain what happened with Shonna.

The response from a spokesperson was “Due to patient privacy laws, we cannot comment.”

We followed up twice asking about general ER procedure and typical wait times when shortness of breath is a symptom.

Again, the response was “Due to patient privacy laws, we cannot comment further.”

"I need them to explain this to me, why they didn't treat my daughter when she was there," Yolanda said.

Yolanda says Shonna worked at a daycare and loved kids, and she loved to cook.

There’s a GoFundMe to help with funeral expenses. If you’d like to donate, click here.

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