An emergency room physician has been suspended after she was caught on video having an intense argument with a patient who claimed to be suffering from an anxiety attack during the encounter. He recorded his son, 20-year-old Samuel Bardwell, at El Camino Hospital in Los Gatos, CA, near San Jose.
Video of the tense exchange between Dr. Beth Keegstra and patient Samuel Bardwell, 20, has been viewed more than 3.5 million times, drawing outrage from critics who demanded Keegstra's immediate firing. "She never said her name, she never asked for his name, she never really examined him".
"Sit up, sit up, sit up! I need you to take out your phone now cause I have a feeling something is gonna happen".
Moments later, she tells Samuel he's "the least sick of all the people" at the hospital and begins tugging at the young man's arm, demanding that he sit up.
When the 6-foot-9 Bardwell told Keegstra he couldn't get up, the doctor responded.
"The concerned father said he was prompted to pull out his phone and start recording after Keegstra accused him and his son, who she referred to as "...you people", of coming in for drugs.
'There, so you picked your head up. I said, 'Please, dad, can you please take out your phone?
El Camino Hospital in Los Gatos, Calif.
"We didn't know what the outcome of not taking the meds would be", said Bardwell's father, Donald. "Wow! He must be dead". Are you dead, sir? "I don't understand, you are breathing just fine".
After Bardwell says he's unable to inhale, Keegstra laughs: 'He can't inhale? Wow.
It ends with her accusing Samuel Bardwell of changing his story and using an expletive at him.
Dan Wood, the chief executive officer of El Camino Hospital, issued a statement saying Dr. Keegstra, who has been a practicing physician for 31 years, has been suspended from all facilities associated with the hospital.
"We are saddened that a patient in our care was affected by this behavior and are working to ensure this never happens again", Vituity spokeswoman Allison Kundu wrote in an email to The Mercury News.
Efforts by ABC News to reach Keegsta for comment were not immediately successful.
Donald Bardwell told KPIX-TV that this was the worst attack he's seen his son experience.
"She said, 'I know why you people are here, you people who come here for drugs, ' and I said 'What do you mean you people?"
His father tells SFGate that Bardwell suffers frequently from anxiety attacks and has to take Klonopin, a sedative that treats panic disorders, to alleviate its symptoms. He said his son had stopped taking his medication several days before he was hospitalized because his prescription had run out and he hadn't had time to refill it.
As noted by the Mercury News, Beth Keegstra, like the rest of El Camino's emergency room doctors, did not work directly for the hospital, but was employed by Emeryville staffing agency Vituity.
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