ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – An Atlanta woman with a life-threatening disease says she had to leave a hospital emergency room and call 911 to get the care she needed.

Christy Mitchell told WGCL-TV she suffers from a rare lung disease that makes it difficult for proper blood flow to deliver oxygen to her body. She has a special pump that circulates medicine through her blood vessels every two minutes.

Last Friday, that pump malfunctioned so a friend drove her to the closest hospital: Gwinnett Medical Center.

But Mitchell claims she was ignored by emergency room staff.

“I felt helpless,” she told WGCL. “We even asked if we could call the PA from Emory that works with me all the time so that she could explain how important it was for this medication to be restarted, and her response was they have no jurisdiction here.”

So she and her friend, Brannon Chappell, made the painful decision to leave the hospital, drive to a shopping mall and call paramedics from there.

“I feared that she was going to die on that bed before a nurse even entered her room. Not once did a nurse walk through the threshold of that door to check on her,” Chappell told WGCL.

After arriving, paramedics were able to give Mitchell the life-saving treatment she needed.

“I was starting to panic because the real fear of what could happen was hitting me,” Mitchell said.

Her pulmonary specialist at Emory said her disease is rare and only a handful of doctors in the state know how to treat it.

“They don’t have to know how to manage the pump or manage the medication at that hospital. They just need to know how to put an IV in and the patient can do everything else,” Dr. Micah Fisher told WGCL.

A spokeswoman for Gwinnett Medical Center said she was unable to publicly comment on the story.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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