Patient dies hours after being turned away from Wisconsin hospital

A patient at a Franklin, Wis., hospital died of heart disease hours after being sent home to wait for a bed to be freed up for him, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The patient, 46-year-old Spendi Rusitovski, visited the Ascension Southeast Wisconsin hospital Dec. 17 with chest pains. The hospital ordered a sonogram test for him that uncovered "an issue," and his primary physician wanted to admit him "due to the serious nature of the sonogram results," according to police and medical examiner reports.

But the hospital did not have available beds early that afternoon, so Mr. Rusitovski and his wife were instructed to return to their home and wait for a call when a bed became available, his wife said. The reports did not say what time they left the hospital.

About 9 p.m., Mr. Rusitovski was driving when his SUV crossed the center line and went into oncoming traffic. He crashed into a telephone pole and landed in a ditch.

Mr. Rusitovski told the first police officers on the scene he felt chest pains and needed to get to an emergency room, and by the time he was moved to a gurney, he was unconscious. Life support was unsuccessful, and he was declared dead in the ambulance.

As part of its investigation into Mr. Rusitovski's death, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office got records from the hospital and found that he had been turned away earlier. The report did not offer more detail about his visit or the results of his sonogram test.

Mr. Rusitovski's cause of death was "coronary artery disease," the medical examiner ruled.

Ms. Rusitovski has retained an attorney to investigate her husband's death.

An Ascension spokesperson declined the Journal Sentinel's request for comment, citing privacy laws. 

Editor's note: Becker's Hospital Review reached out to Ascension for comment and will update the report as more information becomes available.

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