Aria Health executives announced that hospital staff members "did not violate protocols" when Joaquin Rivera passed away while waiting in the emergency room. Those executives would do well to read the definition of the word

emergency

, including "immediate action" ("Aria said to deny violations in Rivera case," Wednesday). Immediate action by Aria staffers did not occur until a patient notified them that Rivera's watch had been stolen, and then they discovered that he had passed away.

How can hospital executives make such a profoundly stupid statement? For anyone who has waited in the emergency room of a hospital lately, the statement is no surprise. There are hospitals in this city where the waiting time in emergency rooms routinely lasts for 12 hours.

I had the opportunity of seeing Joaquin Rivera perform several times. Unlike musicians who are consumed by commercialism and money, Rivera performed for anyone who would listen, and his music was indeed inspiring. Hospital officials would do well to bring the same degree of professionalism to health care as Rivera brought to his music.

Steven Halpern

Philadelphia