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Philly Man Having Heart Attack Dies Awaiting Treatment in Hospital ER then Robbed by Drug Addicts

4 comments

December 2, 2009

A popular Philly local musician and high school counselor went to a hospital emergency room on Saturday complaining of heart attack symptoms. He sat untreated in the waiting room for 80 minutes, where he died and three homeless drug addicts robbed him of his wristwatch.

Joaquin Rivera, 63, of Frankford, walked two blocks from his home on Duffield Street to the emergency room of Atria Health’s Frankford Campus in Northeast Philadelphia, where he checked in at 10:45 p.m. complaining of pain shooting from his left arm to his chest. He took a seat in the waiting room as a nurse instructed.

At 11:00 p.m., Richard Alten, 44, signed in for treatment at the emergency room and he, along with another man and woman companion, take a seat in the waiting room. The three conversed with Rivera.

According to witnesses, police believe Rivera lapsed into unconsciousness about an hour after checking in. All caught on the hospital’s security video, one of the three people he had spoken with in the waiting room then removed Rivera’s watch and briefly passed it to Alten. Alten was then called to see ER doctors and his companions left.

Around 11:45 p.m., a witness alerted hospital security that Rivera appeared to be dead and of the robbery.

“There’s no resistance from Mr. Rivera at all, which is why we believe he’s probably dead. There’s no stirring from him," said Capt. Jack McGinnis, a city detective, of the security video.

Police took Richard Alten into custody. The other suspects, a black woman in her thirties and 5-foot-8 black man in dark pants who limped are wanted by police. McGinnis describes the three suspects as homeless drug addicts. Police say they may release hospital security video in hopes of catching the other two suspects.

Rivera was pronounced dead At 12:04 a.m., one hour and 19 minutes after arriving at the hospital.

"My father went there complaining about chest pains," Joaquin Rivera Jr., 25, said. "They made him wait there for over an hour. That is ridiculous. I feel like the hospital killed him. "

Joaquin Rivera was a popular folk musician in Philly, especially within the Puerto Rican community. He was a bilingual counselor at Olney High School and worked for the school district 36 years.

Funeral Mass for Joaquin Rivera will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Christ Church and St. Ambrose, 600 W. Venango St. Friends may call at 6 p.m. Friday at the John F. Givnish Funeral Home, 10975 Academy Road, and at 9 a.m. at the church. Burial will be in Greenmount Cemetery, Front and Luzerne streets.

Aria Frankford Hospital has released the following statement:

"Due to the pending criminal investigation and citing patient confidentiality, Aria Health is unable to comment with regards to the circumstances surrounding this patient’s death. Aria Health is cooperating fully with the Philadelphia Police Department in connection with the investigation and offers its condolences to the patient’s family. Aria officials are conducting an intensive internal investigation into this event and are coordinating their efforts with law enforcement."

Hospital negligence can result in serious injuries and even deaths. If you have been injured as the result of negligence while you were a patient in a hospital, or if a loved one died due to hospital negligence, you may be able to file a claim and collect compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses and other losses. Some of the most common forms of hospital negligence include wrong-site surgeries, medication errors, surgical errors, development of hospital-acquired infections, improper use of anesthesia, improper treatment of a diagnosed medical condition, failure to monitor or stabilize a patient, or improper use of a medical device. Call Napoli Bern Ripka, LLP at 888-529-4669 today to discuss your legal options.

4 Comments

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  1. Linda Mabry says:
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    I work in a Cardiac Cath lab and the standard across the country for anyone entering an ED with chest pain is to access them immediately and not release them until it is completely ruled out that they are not having a heart attack. This is unbelieveable. Shame on that hospital for having standards of a third world country.Here in america this kind of treatment should NEVER be seen. I feel for his family. I don’t believe in sueing but if this was my husband or brother I would sue the socks off this hospital and all its affiliates.

  2. Linda Mabry says:
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    I work in a Cardiac Cath lab and the standard across the country for anyone entering an ED with chest pain is to access them immediately and not release them until it is completely ruled out that they are not having a heart attack. This is unbelieveable. Shame on that hospital for having standards of a third world country.Here in america this kind of treatment should NEVER be seen. I feel for his family. I don’t believe in sueing but if this was my husband or brother I would sue the socks off this hospital and all its affiliates.

  3. lamar says:
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    this hospital shuld be closed the hell down thats so sad a life is lost and i bet dis hospital is goin to continue running wit no promblem i feel for his family and is tryin so hard not to cuss someone out this is sad someone in his family shuld be gettin money this is seriouss not a joke and along with his family getting money this hospital should still be shut down. him watin for 80mins iz rediciousl thats over an hour.

  4. Steve Fincher says:
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    Why didn’t this article mention if he had insurance or not?????? If that was Bill Gates, that wouldn’t have happened. Our health care system is for profit. Isn’t it time for Single Payer????