When David, a father of three, complained again of having a hard time breathing, a fireman took him to Barnes-Jewish, thinking that David already had an established care routine there, Sadie told KMOV. “Oh, I just wish you wouldn’t have took him there,” Sadie told the fireman. When the fireman asked why, she responded: “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.’”
David Alexander Bell should be alive today, but Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Peters, MO REFUSED to treat him, then he DIED in the parking lot! How many more Black people must die before we address systemic racism in health care?? pic.twitter.com/5PMhZn0xk2
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) February 2, 2021
Sadie told KMOV when she met her husband at the hospital he was sitting outside in a wheelchair, and she begged doctors to admit him. “He said, ‘ma’am he’s already been here twice for the same thing and we’ve already diagnosed him,’” Sadie said. When Sadie and David got about halfway to their car, David said, “Oh Sadie,” KMOV reported. Although a good Samaritan attempted CPR on David, he died shortly after.
David’s fire department said in a statement released Jan. 19 on Facebook that he and his wife moved to St. Peters more than a decade ago to raise their three children and he was elected to the fire department’s board in 2018. “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,” the fire department said in the statement. “He was passionate about ensuring that the residents of CCFR received nothing less than the best from every member of the fire district.”
The department added:
“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.”
His funeral was held Jan. 23 at Faith Church in Earth City, which is about 20 miles northwest of St. Louis, the fire department said. LaDonna Freeman, who organized a memorial fund for David, said on a GoFundMe page that David was preparing to return to a career he worked 13 years in as a chemical mixer at Reckitt Benckiser. He had been on a two-year leave of absence. “Although he encountered challenge after challenge throughout the process of being rehired, David persevered because it was his only hope to continue to provide for his family,” Freeman said. “During his leave, David worked as a musician, a photographer, and a Director for Central County Fire and Rescue to support his wife Sadie and his children DeAnna, Kyra, and DJ.”
“On the morning of Tuesday, January 12th, David woke up and excitedly reported for his second day back to work. By noon, when he should have been breaking for lunch, he was in the emergency room at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Peters fighting for his life. Despite multiple visits to the same ER in the previous days and repeated requests for assistance from the medical team that morning, his pleas and prayers went ignored. Tragically, David took his last breaths in the drive-up of the emergency room with his wife Sadie by his side.
Anyone who knows David knows that he was a hard worker, a hope bringer, and shared light with everyone he encountered. He was an elected official, a gifted musician, a loving minister, and a wise mentor to many who never turned down an opportunity to serve. In his short 39 years, David poured tirelessly into the lives of countless people. David leaves behind his wife of 17 years, Sadie, and his three children, ages 15, 14, and 9 along with four brothers, four sisters, and a host of heartbroken family and friends.
David loved his wife Sadie and his children deeply. Despite David’s tireless service to the community of St. Peters and St. Charles County, his longevity at his job, and his unending efforts to provide for his family, his two-year illness and Tuesday’s tragedy leaves his family exposed and unable to plan for the future.
His family is shattered by his loss.”
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said David’s death is indicative of a broken system. “How many more Black people must die before we address systemic racism in health care??” Crump asked. Sinai Urban Health Institute found when comparing Black and white mortality rates that 70,000 more Black people die than white people each year. “It’s very clear that it’s not a race difference, it’s a difference due to racism,” Maureen Benjamins, a senior research fellow with the Institute, said.