The tragedy of Roshunda Abney, (Las Vegas Review, Woman Says She Was Ignored in ER, Paul Harasim ) occurs much too often. She went home after a six-hour hospital wait, and returned with a dead baby.

Abney was a part-time customer service rep in Las Vegas who lived with her high school sweetheart. They had relocated from Mississippi for a better life.

 Abney had irregular menstrual periods, so she didn’t know that she was pregnant. For the past two days she had experienced menstrual-type cramping that wouldn’t go away despite taking over-the-counter painkillers. When the pain became unbearable, Abney went to a hospital-affiliated urgent care center. A nurse requested a urine sample but Abney was not able to supply one. Thirty minutes later a decision was made to transfer Abney to the hospital ER because she needed “higher care.” She was also uninsured.

Abney’s vital signs were taken upon her arrival to the hospital ER and then she proceeded to wait. And wait. And wait. Her pain became worse and she unsuccessfully attempted to receive medical attention. When she told a certified nursing assistant that her pain was getting worse, he told her that if she endured it for two days, “another 45-minutes wouldn’t make a difference.”

Sympathetic patients who were present in the waiting room offered to allow Abney to go ahead of them. They were subsequently informed to “mind their business or they would never see a doctor.” After a six-hour wait without being seen, she went to another hospital where she was also not seen and went home thinking she had gallstones. Twenty minutes after she reached home, her membranes ruptured and the feet of a baby was emerging. Paramedics were called and subsequently delivered a 24-week breech baby girl who was lifeless.

Abney’s case illustrates why hospitals and physicians get sued. She had to contend with layers of arrogance and calloused gatekeepers.

I strongly encourage all pregnant women to read The Smart Mother’s Guide to a Better Pregnancy. If you think the story of Roshunda Abney is an isolated incidence. Please, think again.