People with diabetes know: when the chips are down and worst has come to worst, it’s time to go to the emergency room. Forget about the cost, forget about the hassle—when it’s a matter of life and death, you need to go to the hospital.
But what if the hospital tells you to come again later?
That’s what happened to 18-year-old Josephine Gonzalez, who has type 1 diabetes. Josephine told her mother that she was feeling sick and needed medical care. Josephine says that while she may not have physically looked ill, she knows her own body well enough to know when she needs care. So her mother took her to the emergency room.
Josephine’s mother, Kristen King, dropped her off at the ER so she could get in right away while Kristen parked. As Kristen was walking up to the building, her daughter was walking back out. Josephine told her that she’d been denied service at South Central Kansas Medical Center’s emergency room.
In disbelief, Kristen went in to find out what was going on. It turned out that the emergency room was closed because their server was down. “I walked in and spoke with the registrar, she said, ‘I’m really sorry, I hate turning her away but our server’s down—IT’s working on it. The ER’s closed, we can’t take her,'” Kristen shared with KWCH12 News.
Josephine and Kristen had to drive to Winfield (about 15 minutes away) and hospital staff there arranged an EMS transport to Wichita. Josephine stayed in intensive care for three days.
Josephine is doing better now, but she and her mother are concerned about what might have happened had things been even more dire, or what might have happened to others. “Computers go down all the time, that’s just the world we live in. We have to be able to function without it—we need a plan B we need a plan C,” Kristen said.
Josephine shared that even at the donut shop where she works they have a backup plan for when computers go down. “The fact that the hospital didn’t have a backup plan is kind of frustrating,” she said.
KWCH12 News reached out to South Central Kansas Medical Center, but no one was available to comment. Kristen says she has contacted the hospital board and their attorney, and they’ve assured her the matter is being examined.
We hope that the next time Josephine (or any of us) needs to visit the emergency room, it will be open for business.
Watch Josephine’s Story Below!
Katie Taylor started writing in 5th grade and hasn't stopped since. Her favorite place to pen a phrase is in front of her fireplace with a cup of tea, but she's been known to write in parking lots on the backs of old receipts if necessary. She and her husband live cozily in the Pacific Northwest enjoying rainy days and Netflix.