California hospital suspends ER physician after video reveals her taunting 20-year-old patient

A spokesperson for El Camino Hospital Los Gatos in California confirmed the removal of a physician from the hospital's work schedule last week after a cellphone video posted on social media reportedly showed the woman mocking a 20-year-old emergency room patient, according to The Mercury News.

Samuel Bardwell, a newly enrolled college student at Saratoga, Calif.-based West Valley College, was brought to the hospital's ER June 11 after collapsing outside of the weight room during his first basketball practice.

Mr. Bardwell's father, who accompanied his son to the ER, told The Mercury News Mr. Bardwell had been previously diagnosed with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder and had been prescribed Klonopin, which is used to treat seizures. He said Mr. Bardwell had been "off his meds for two days because he couldn't get to the pharmacy before it closed," according to the report.

Mr. Bardwell's father said he decided to record the interaction with ER physician Beth Keegstra, MD, after she reportedly entered his son's room with a security guard.

"[Dr. Keegstra] didn't even say hello or ask why he was there, just came in with guns blazing. That's why I started the video," he said, adding he held his cellphone at chest-level and was not trying to be surreptitious about videotaping the interaction.

The video reportedly shows Dr. Keegstra taunting Mr. Bardwell, allegedly pulling on his arms and legs to make him sit up, and mocking him when he said he couldn't get up or inhale properly, The Mercury News reports.

In a June 15 statement, El Camino Hospital said it has apologized to Mr. Bardwell and his family and that Dr. Keegstra "has been removed from the work schedule, pending further investigation."

"Our number one priority is and always will be to serve our community with exceptional care and the utmost dignity and respect for all," the statement reads. "This matter is being immediately addressed at the highest level of our organization; however, patient privacy laws prevent us from providing specific information regarding the treatment or services provided to any patient under our care. Please be assured that this recent interaction is not reflective of the care and services our over 3,000 dedicated caregivers provide every single day."

The June 15 statement also notes the hospital's ER service provider, Emeryville, Calif.-based Vituity, was made aware of the incident and was notified to "permanently remove [Dr. Keegstra] from the list of approved physicians assigned to provide emergency care at our hospitals."

To access the full report, click here.

Editor's note: This story was updated June 19. An earlier version of this story misstated that Klonopin causes seizures. Klonopin is a drug to treat seizures. Becker's regrets the error. 

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