Update on last week’s homeless dumping

Earlier this week I posted about a Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center Van that was seen dumping a homeless man in downtown “with nothing more than a soiled gown and a broken colostomy bag.” Needless to say, city official are not psyched about this and City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo put down his playstation controller long enough to raise some hell about this. Or at least he’s trying to, seems like the hospital is stalling. Stonewalling even. They are refusing to release any info about the patient in question even though the patient himself signed consent and release forms authorizing the request of those records. Sounds like someone is trying to cover their ass, but clearly not very well. This would be the time when I’d recommend going ahead and crossing HPMC off your list of places you might consider getting treatment from. Yikes!

20 Replies to “Update on last week’s homeless dumping”

  1. what would you recommend they do, provide free healthcare and then put them up in a hotel? Then hospitals and professional doctors wouldn’t be around to help people like you. Nobody wants to pay for or take care of these people.

  2. Oh man, you are totally right. I didn’t take into account earlier that the only options available were providing full coverage free of charge or taking them to an abandoned part of downtown and leaving them on the sidewalk to fend for themselves, with less clothing then when the showed up at the hospital. My mistake.

  3. J: Please, educate us if you think that homeless patients should, indeed, be dumped on skidrow? Should this be policy?

    How about creating more shelters and outpatient homes for the homeless? In the meantime, yes, they should be kept at the hospital until a more humanitarian solution is found. Living in a civilized culture carries a responsiblity to do nothing less.

  4. Could the hospitals make arrangements with local shelters to take discharged patients to a shelter? I understand that many shelters are overcrowded, but there has got to be a better solution than dumping a half-naked man on a street corner in a part of town where there’s little chance for him to get help.

  5. K: The shelters simply don’t have enough beds. The solution is to build more of them, just NIMBY. The NIMBY thing was a joke, actually… I would love more shelters built in my back yard, which happens to be Skid Row. If there were more shelters and thus more shelter beds there would be less folks sleeping on the street and that is a good thing.

  6. Does anyone have stats on how full the shelters in LA are? I don’t, but I know that when I lived in Chicago they were never at more than 70% capacity and people still slept on the streets and froze to death in the winter. I don’t know if that is the case in LA, but I’m not convinced more shelters is a solution to homelessness anymore than I am that dumping a guy on a street is a good way for a hospital to deal with someone who can’t pay their bill.

  7. I don’t think we have all the details about this event, though I agree that no detail justifies letting a paraplegic jump out of a van into a skid row gutter. Clearly he needed additional medical care if a homeless shelter refused to take him earlier in the day.

    As to his appearance when he landed in the street–perhaps his clothes were cut off him during his medical emergency. Perhaps the clothes he wore to the hospital were filthy, encrusted with vomit and/or feces and urine, and were discarded.

    Most likely he left the hospital against medical advice because he is mentally ill, or worried about his belongings on the street, or perhaps his crack pipe was calling to him–we don’t know. Most hospitals will at least give a discharged patient a set of scrubs to wear out the door. If he has Medi-Cal and SSI he could have been sent to a nursing home or even a board and care facilty. Chances are he was offered those resources at some point and for whatever reason he refused them. Patients cannot be prevented from leaving a hospital if they insist upon leaving.

    In addition, why would we ask our overburdened emergency rooms to clothe and care for him? Their responsibility is to medically stabilize him (which sounds unlikely in this case if he was that ill.)

    If you all are so concerned about his well-being, why not invite him to stay with you? (I’m sure you all could pitch in a few bucks for thrift store clothes and some Happy Meals.) Oh, wait–that’s right–it’s someone else’s job.

  8. Lila – did you even read the story? He didn’t leave the hospital, they loaded him into a van and dumped him downtown. There are witnesses who saw it happen. Please try and pay attention if you are going to try and wear your righteous pants so you don’t want to look like an idiot.

  9. Lila: I don’t think anyone is passing the buck, but expecting our hospitals and goverment to handle this in an appropriate manner.

    Again, your post offers zero solutions, and suggests that if he were dumped on the street it would be okay.

    You’re right on everything else – sometime patients will leave on their own and head back for the crack pipe and skidrow.

    But, not too long ago there was video of a woman indeed being dumped into skid row. Based on your comments, you believe if someone doesn’t have a healthcare plan, this is acceptable.

  10. Sean–I did read the story, but that doesn’t mean that I know all the details or that the full story has been told. I try not to look like an idiot, which is why I don’t think the LA Times or CBS News are unbiased observers. Maybe when all the facts are known, HPMC will turn out be the homeless-dumping, callous, avaricious villain. Until then, why not make assumptions about everyone in the situation, not just the hospital?

    Of course they loaded him in the van, but at whose request? He certainly couldn’t just walk out of the hospital if he wanted to leave.

    I don’t wear my righteous pants (What a great phrase–no sarcasm intended!) often, but I witness alot of hand-wringing about the plight of the homeless, but don’t see much effort on the handwringers to do anything.

  11. David–I believe I said in the first paragraph of my first comment that no detail of the situation justifies dumping a paraplegic in a skid row gutter. ETA: or anyone.

    And I offered a solution in my last paragraph, and I wasn’t being flippant. Until everyone is willing to step up and act like the homeless mentally ill and homeless drug addicts are everyone’s responsibilty, nothing will change. NIMBY, or the government’s responsibilty, either way, nothing gets done.

    Didn’t we just vote to tax millionaires an extra 1% to fund homeless programs? (No, I am not a millionaire, thanks for asking.) Where is that money? There are successful programs in place elsewhere in the state and country (San Francisco, for instance.) Now the money exists, but where is the pressure on the county supervisors or LA City Council to make the money work for the homeless?

    I work around the corner from the Village in Long Beach, which does a fairly good job at stabilizing and housing the homeless mentally ill. But they espouse self-determination, so folks like Mr. Dumped Patient are free to go back into the street if that is where they want to be.

  12. Because you used a combination of words that is often used by spammers and the automatic filters held it back, and because it was late at night no one was there to override it on the spot. As you can see it’s been approved now.

  13. Sean–Oh darn–I was so looking forward to putting my righteous pants on again!!

    Enjoyed the discussion and love this blog.

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