Denver school board member encounters situation at Denver Health

Problem Solvers

DENVER (KDVR) — Denver school board member Tay Anderson got into a confrontation with security at Denver Health Medical Center Sunday night. Anderson claims police and security guards escalated the situation, but the hospital says they were trying to protect the hospital and the privacy of their patients.

Anderson took to social media late Sunday night. He said he went to check on his mother, who was rushed to the hospital after a medical emergency. In an Instagram video, he said, “You gotta call this number, call this number. So I call this number, and it doesn’t work y’all, and they’re like, ‘You gotta go through the system.’ I said, ‘Your **** system doesn’t work!’”

He continued: “You don’t even bring a nurse out. You brought four police officers out here, postured in a position to take me down.”

Denver police told the FOX31 Problem Solvers, “Contrary to the statements on this incident, there was one Denver police officer at the incident Sunday night who responded to a report of this disturbance. That officer is assigned to the hospital. This incident did not result in a police report.”

Sources tell FOX31’s Deborah Takahara the officer and two security guards from the hospital were responding to a loud commotion in the lobby and that Anderson was animated and using a raised tone of voice with staff, and the person with him was yelling and screaming profanities.”

Anderson said, “I will say definitely my tone and my demeanor became a more defensive position because I was looking to speak to a nurse to figure out the condition of my mother, however with the police and armed security guards, I was ready to be arrested because I knew the way they positioned themselves was [a] confrontational and adversarial role.”

A nurse stepped in and diffused the situation and was able to give Anderson an update on his mother, who is in stable condition. He said he understands COVID restrictions and patient privacy laws, but he believes he was racially profiled.

“To them, I was some random Black guy screaming in their lobby, trying to get into their hospital. The nurse this morning explicitly said, ‘We get gang violence, we have volatile situations that come into our hospital doors.’ I kind of stopped and wondered if she would’ve said that to a white family,” Anderson said.

In response to the situation, Denver Health Medical Center released this statement: 

“Denver Health strives to provide high-quality, compassionate care to all patients and their families. We are concerned about the experience described regarding an incident that happened in our Emergency Department on Sunday night.

Denver Health notifies security when situations appear to escalate for the safety of everyone involved. These policies are in place to protect our patients, staff and visitors.

A patient’s privacy is always a top priority and we have policies in place for our emergency department to communicate only with designated family members about a patient’s condition. We understand that hospital policies and procedures may be interpreted as unfair or too restrictive, and we acknowledge how difficult it can be to have to wait for information about a loved one during an emergency situation.

Denver Health has had conversations with the patient’s family about what happened. We will review the specifics of what took place and look forward to continuing and open and constructive conversation with our community members.”

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