Members of a District family say they watched helplessly as their 63-year-old mother collapsed and died in an emergency room waiting area at D.C. General Hospital Monday after being virtually ignored by the hospital staff members.

"No hospital personnel ever touched my mother, not until after she was dead," said Carolyn Evans, one of Patricia Jones's 11 children.

Jones, who lived in the 2300 block of Ainger Place SE, sat waiting for at least two and perhaps three hours after being taken in her wheelchair into the emergency room by family members, said another daughter, Linda Watson. She said her mother was complaining of shortness of breath and chest pains.

D.C. General's Executive Director, Mark Chastang, said in a prepared statement that officials are investigating the death, and he offered his sympathy to the family.

"All aspects of the incident are currently under review," he said. "While this unfortunate incident did occur, we are very confident in the excellent quality of services provided at D.C. General by a very skilled and compassionate staff."

D.C. General had more than 81,000 emergency room visits last year, an average of about 220 a day, according to a statistical index of city services.

Jones, an active member of Second Baptist Church, returned Saturday from a church-sponsored trip to York, Pa., and told family members that she was feeling ill, Evans said. On Monday, her family persuaded her to go to the hospital at 19th Street and Massachusetts Avenue SE. "She was an outpatient there and felt because they had her medical records, that they would be in the best position to help," Evans said.

Watson said she and her three brothers took Jones to the emergency room about 7:45 p.m. The receptionist said she would be seen right away, Watson said.

Soon afterward, an orderly took Jones, who suffered from hypertension, into another room and asked what her problem was. "He said, 'Sit down and someone would get to {Jones} right away,' " Watson said.

Instead, Jones waited. Watson said that sometime after 9 p.m., she helped her mother into the bathroom, where Jones said she wasn't feeling well. Watson said she and a brother helped Jones back to the waiting area, where Jones said, "Linda, I'm gonna pass out."

Watson said Jones was turning blue. She said she went to the receptionist and pleaded for help, but no one came. At that point, her brothers and other patients began yelling for assistance.

Four nurses and two men in white -- Watson said she didn't know whether they were doctors -- appeared at the door of the nearby treatment room, but none made a move toward her mother, Watson said.

"She was really bad off. Her face was purple and she was foaming at the mouth," Watson said. "Everybody started crying. We knew she was gone."

Watson said her three brothers and a patient who had a bandage on his head lifted Jones up from her wheelchair and put her on a stretcher. Finally, nurses wheeled Jones into the treatment room, Watson said.

Sometime after 10 p.m., a doctor appeared and asked what had happened in the emergency area, then told them their mother was dead, Watson said.

Evans said that the family at first was told that Jones died from hypertension but that the death later was attributed to a blood clot in her lungs.

Watson and other family members met with a hospital administrator yesterday, but were told nothing beyond the official statement released to the press, Watson said.