Some workers at U.S. hospital giant HCA say it puts profits above patient care

Nancy Jaquins was following doctor’s orders last July when she drove her partner to the emergency department at Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina.

His hemoglobin level had crashed, she said, and his doctor, affiliated with the HCA-owned hospital, said he needed to get there as soon as possible for a blood transfusion. A heart condition made his situation urgent.

Once inside the Mission emergency department, however, they found it crowded and understaffed, with people sleeping or sitting on the floor, said Jaquins, a former psychiatric and cardiac nurse. The couple was told to “take a seat,” she said.

Fourteen hours later her partner finally got a bed, Jaquins said; another five hours went by before the hospital found him a room. Once there, he received five units of blood, she added, staying in the hospital for four days.

Although her partner ended up OK, the long delay in treatment was “abhorrent and unconscionable,” Jaquins said.

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