Veteran dies at Albuquerque VA hospital

Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 1:10pm

Imagine you're at a hospital, eating lunch and you collapse.

Instead of doctors rushing to your aid, you wait 30 minutes for an ambulance to drive you around the building to the emergency room.

That scenario became reality for one veteran in Albuquerque Monday.

According to officials at the VA, a patient collapsed in the cafeteria Monday.Witnesses say he looked like he was having a heart attack. So, staff in the cafeteria followed the rules in place.

VA policy states that if any medical emergency happens outside of the main hospital, staff calls 911.

The Albuquerque Fire Department told KOAT that an ambulance did dispatch a crew monday at 12:30 p.m. to the VA hospital's address.

Emergency personnel arrived on scene and loaded the veteran in the ambulance. They then drove him, on the VA complex, from one building to another.

The distance between the two buildings would have taken four minutes to walk to, but by the time the ambulance got to the cafeteria, loaded up the veteran and drove him around the building, it was too late. The veteran died.

When KOAT asked the VA why the man wasn't helped on property or even wheeled on a gurney to the emergency room, a spokesperson responded with "we are currently reviewing our policy on it."


Officials cannot confirm if any doctors were present in the cafeteria when the man went down.

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