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Hospital Tells Woman It Can Schedule CPR Appointment In 6 Weeks

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COLUMBUS, OH—Informing her the facility was currently operating beyond capacity and experiencing delays, staff at Columbus Memorial Hospital told a woman suffering cardiac arrest that they could schedule an appointment for her to undergo CPR in six weeks. “If you could just stay home and try to avoid any strenuous activities between now and early March, we should have someone available at that time to administer chest compressions,” an ER receptionist said in a phone call with local 83-year-old Beatrice Nelkin, explaining that if her heart attack had worsened by then and she had stop breathing, she could make a separate appointment for mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, a procedure for which the hospital was currently booking into August. “They usually do 30 compressions, and if that isn’t enough to get your heart beating again, they’ll schedule you for an additional 30 at a later time. No, no—please don’t just come in. If you really want something sooner, we could do a telehealth appointment for CPR in three weeks. Would that work?” At press time, sources confirmed the hospital had charged Nelkin $15,000 for dying without canceling her appointment in advance.