Remember That Homeless Guy That Hospital Dumped?

Yeah, well, he actually filed a lawsuit last Thursday. Gabo Olvera, the homeless man unceremoniously dumped at Skid Row last year is suing Hollywood Presbyterian for for negligence and elder abuse, with the help of advocacy organization Public Counsel. Olvera is one of about fifty reported incidents that have taken place in the last twelve months, of homeless people being dumped by hospitals. But Olvera, a paraplegic, was dumped off in Skid Row without a wheelchair – only a soiled gown and a colostomy bag, and was found crawling along the pavement with his paperwork in his mouth. An especially callous touch: witnesses claim that the driver of the van stopped to apply makeup before driving off.

This isn’t the first lawsuit on the subject in L.A. In May, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, settled a lawsuit involving the dumping of another patient by agreeing to find shelter places for all patients it discharges in Los Angeles. According to Reuters, “Hollywood Presbyterian said in a statement in May it would adopt similar protocols, but lawyers for Olvera said the hospital had failed to do so.”

Really, I just think it makes L.A. look even worse, like it is some sort of Blade Runner dystopia where the handicapped are left to die in the streets. But is it all the hospitals fault? Where are the resources for long-term care for those who are physically unable to care for themselves? These examples of dumping are above and beyond ridiculousness, but what options do the hospitals have if no shelter spaces are available? Obviously, a good start would be releasing patients with a donated wheelchair, clothes and a blanket – but maybe this lawsuit & any others like it will help the Skid Row charities get the support they need to help the hospitals with the outpatients that no-one comes to pick up.