FIRST ON WWAY: Healthcare workers claim patient died in Novant NHRMC emergency room after hours long wait

Multiple healthcare workers claim Novant Health NHRMC is now under investigation by the State Department of Health and Human Services

NEW HANOVER COUNTY (WWAY) — Multiple Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center staff members confirmed the State Department of Health and Human Services has opened up an investigation and visited the campus this week.

“State was here yesterday morning and met with the management that we do have,” said an emergency department employee, who wished to remain anonymous. “It was because a patient passed away in the emergency room lobby on Monday night.”

That healthcare worker confirmed June 6, the day Novant sent out a mass casualty message because of short staffing and a surge in patients, one patient died waiting for care in the emergency room.

“They had continued to deteriorate throughout the day and had not been seen by a provider,” the healthcare worker explained. “Unfortunately we were unable to revive them at the scene, so they did pass away in the lobby due to not getting medical attention on time. I just know that they went into cardiac arrest.”

According to one patient who was waiting in the ER that night, a woman in her 70’s came in with two other people. The woman looked ill. During the hours she was there, the patient says one family member continued asking for help.

“She went back and forth several times trying to get someone to attend to her. My guess would be she was probably there four or five hours. I don’t know because it was such a terrible night.”

Hours later, the patient says this woman still hadn’t received medical attention.

“I looked over and the gentleman that was with her was kind of… messing with her hat. And she was dead. I mean, she was obviously dead. It was sickening. It was unbelievable.”

A hospital employee tells us the state is investigating. In the meantime, multiple staff members say the wait times are as high as ever, hitting 6-7 hours Tuesday.

“Every morning when I come into work I just feel like bursting into tears because we can’t do anything for them,” said one staff member. “I would not send my family here. In fact, I told my family do not come here, because I’m afraid that they would not get the medical attention that they deserve.”

We’ve reached out to Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center and the State Department of Health and Human Services. Novant has not responded to multiple messages. DHHS says since NHRMC is federally certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, we’ll need to file a public records request. We have done so and are awaiting their response.

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