ST. PETERS (KMOV.com) -- Sadie Bell says her husband David died in the parking lot of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Peters during his third time at the hospital seeking medical treatment. 

David & Sadie Bell

David & Sadie Bell

“I felt like what he was going through was urgent and I thought that’s what emergency rooms are for,” Bell said. She told News 4 the week of January 8 she took her husband to the ER twice, after he’d been complaining about severe chest pain.

Both times, Bell said medical staff refused to admit him, only prescribing him with Ibuprofen. Then David, who was also the Director for Central County Fire, was rushed back to the same hospital after having difficulty breathing at work for a third time.

“I called his fireman, because one of his firemen took him, I said, 'Which hospital did you take him to?' he said, 'I went on and took him back to Barnes-Jewish because I know that’s where you all had been going.' I said, 'Oh, I just wish you wouldn’t have took him there.' He said, 'Why not?' and I said, 'Every time that we have taken him, all they did was give him Ibuprofen and sent him home, and I’m really thinking they missing something,'” Bell recalled.

Barnes Jewish St. Peters

Sign outside of the Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital. 

When Bell got to the hospital she said her husband was sitting outside in a wheelchair. After begging doctors to run tests and admit him, she said they refused.

“He said, 'ma’am he’s already been here twice for the same thing and we’ve already diagnosed him,'” Bell said. From there she said she was preparing to take him to another hospital but it was too late.

“We got halfway to the car and he said, 'Oh Sadie.' And I said, 'Baby what’s wrong?'” she said. Bell said her husband took his last breath in the parking lot and a good Samaritan tried giving David CPR. 

Bell believes her husband received a lack of treatment because doctors and staff dismissed him. National medical reports state African Americans often have higher mortality rates because they don’t receive the same health care as their white counterparts.

“I don’t know what they thought and I just don’t understand why they wouldn’t help him,” she said.

Numbers from the American Medical Association (AMA) show Black Americans' mortality rate is 24% higher than white Americans. One of the main contributing factors the AMA points out is that doctors are not addressing pain levels from black patients.

“I don’t want any family to feel what we’re feeling right now,” she said. 

News 4 reached out to Barnes Jewish for a comment. They told us due to privacy laws they cannot share details on David’s case. They sent a statement saying: “Our thoughts are with the family after this loss, as well as with the entire Central County Fire & Rescue team.”

Central County Fire & Rescue posted the following statement to Facebook:

David Bell with family

David Bell with his family. 

It is with profound sadness and the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of Central County Fire & Rescue Board Director David Bell. David leaves behind a wife, three young children, and a host of family and friends who will miss him dearly, including the entire CCFR family.

David and his wife moved to the St. Peters community more than a decade ago to raise their three children. He was elected to the Board of Directors in 2018 and quickly became part of the CCFR family.

As a member of the Board, David always kept the best interests and the safety of the community and our professional firefighter/paramedics at the forefront of every decision. He was passionate about ensuring that the residents of CCFR received nothing less than the best from every member of the fire district. Above and beyond merely attending regular board meetings, David spent many hours a week serving alongside us to accomplish that goal.

Outside of his Board of Director duties, David was an active supporter of the Fire District, our community, and the Central County Community Outreach program. David was right there with us at every CCFR Community Outreach event with his bright smile and welcoming personality, lending a hand and taking photos for all of us to remember the good times we shared.

David once said being elected to the CCFR Board of Directors was a defining moment in his life. But his life left a defining mark on our District and our CCFR family. In 2018, we interviewed David for a news release shortly after his election to the CCFR Board of Directors, where he said, “CCFR is not only where I live, it is my life. Within this district my children learn, play and thrive. A safe future for my children is dependent on the effectiveness of CCFR. As director, I will be able to provide support for the brave men who put themselves in harm's way. We are all CCFR. We stand together. Together we survive. Together we thrive. The best is yet to come.”

David, you led our CCFR family through some very challenging and difficult times these past three years, and you certainly succeeded in supporting us...in more ways than we could ever begin to list out here. We are all better for having known and worked with you to support and protect our community. We overcame some tremendous challenges and accomplished some amazing things under your leadership. The legacy you've left behind has undoubtedly made our community safer and better for having you at the helm for the past three years.

David, we will miss your smile and the positive presence you brought to any room. We know that your faith in God was an integral part of your life. Rest in peace, friend.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations via this GoFundMe link.

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

News 4 Reporter

Ashli Lincoln is a general assignment reporter for News 4 St. Louis

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