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Page last updated at 15:29 GMT, Wednesday, 2 July 2008 16:29 UK

Video shows death of US patient

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Woman lies dying on hospital floor as others fail to help

Video footage has emerged of an American woman dying on the floor of a New York City hospital as workers failed to help for more than an hour.

Esmin Green, 49, who was said to have suffered a mental breakdown, had been waiting to be seen at Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn, for some 24 hours.

She collapsed in the waiting room at 0532 (0932 GMT) on 19 June.

According to the footage, it took almost an hour for the staff to notice and check her, but she had died.

Lawsuit evidence

On Tuesday, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, which runs the hospital, agreed to increase the monitoring of patients at the hospital's psychiatric ward as part of a lawsuit settlement.

The lawsuit was filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union and others a year ago.

"That it took somebody keeling over and dying, and it being captured on videotape, for the city to come to the table in a meaningful way is unconscionable," Donna Lieberman, executive director of the union, is quoted as saying in the New York Times newspaper.

According to the lawsuit, patients at the hospital "are subjected to overcrowded and squalid conditions often accompanied by physical abuse and unnecessary and punitive injections of mind-altering drugs".

The case had remained largely unnoticed until the video was released after it was handed over to the union by city lawyers as evidence in the court case. The civil liberties union released it on Tuesday.

The hospital has now agreed to check patients in the waiting room every 15 minutes, and will attempt to shorten the average waiting time to around 10 hours in future.

Six people have since been fired or suspended as a result of the incident, including security staff and members of the medical staff.


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