An emergency room doctor at a Northern California hospital has been suspended after she was caught on video allegedly ridiculing a patient after he collapsed from an apparent anxiety attack.
Samuel Bardwell, a 20-year-old student at West Valley College in Saratoga, made a trip to the El Camino Hospital Los Gatos after passing out during a basketball practice on June 11, The Mercury News reported.
Beth Keegstra, the ER doctor who attended to Bardwell — who reportedly was unable to speak and was numb at the time — seemingly didn't take the man's health claims seriously when she was caught on camera allegedly mocking him.
"Sir, you are the least sick of all the people who are here, who are dying," Keegstra is heard saying in a video recorded by Bardwell's father, Donald. "There, you picked your head up. Now don't try to tell me you can't move. C'mon, sit up."
The doctor, who Bardwell reportedly waited four hours to see, begins to loudly tell the 20-year-old to "sit up" and is seen trying to push him upwards on the hospital bed.
"She's literally yanking my arm," Bardwell says, repeatedly telling Keegstra he can't physically sit up.
"You want us to wheel you to your house in the gurney?" the doctor quips, before laughing at Bardwell as he says it's difficult for him to inhale.
"He can't inhale, wow! He must be dead! Are you dead, sir?" Keegstra says, later adding "this is ridiculous."
"I came in here wanting to help you and you're changing your story around," the doctor says, accusing Bardwell of changing his reasons for seeking medical treatment. "You have changed your story everying f---king time. ... So, put an IV in him, give him a liter of fluid and we'll get him out of here."
Donald Bardwell told The Mercury News that his son had been previously diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and was off his anxiety medication for two days because he was unable to visit the pharmacy.
Days later, Keegstra was "removed from the work schedule pending futher investigation." An El Camino Hospital spokesperson told the news outlet that, "Obviously we take this very seriously. This is not reflective of the care this organization provides. We’ve apologized to the patient."
An employee of Vituity, a company that staffs the hospital's ER doctors, said in a statement the physician has also been removed from the schedules of all the hospitals at which she works.