January 18, 2008
Los Angeles, Ca (The Weekly Vice) -- Civil rights groups and a law firm sued a Los Angeles hospital for dumping a homeless, paraplegic man on skid row in February, 2007.
The lawsuit alleges that the Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital dumped a mentally ill patient on skid row in a soiled hospital gown. Witnesses who came to the man's aid found him crawling along the sewer drains dragging his belongings behind him with his teeth.
The man reportedly came to the hospital to be treated for a urinary tract infection. The hospital refused the treatment and instead attempted to transport the paraplegic man to a local homeless shelter. When the shelter refused to take the man, the hospital dumped the untreated patient on skid row before a street of witnesses and even a security camera.
"[The witnesses] were so filled with outrage about the treatment of this patient that they stepped forward and they shared that not only did the man have to fling himself out of the van onto the street but that the driver was only concerned that her van seat had been soiled and she was applying makeup and perfume as she drove off and left the guy laying in the street." said Union Rescue Mission president Andy Bales.
Back in May of 2007, Hollywood Presbyterian released a statement which promised to adopt a policy similar to that of other hospitals agreeing to find shelter places for all patients. Attorneys for the victim in the case contend in their suit that the hospital has failed to follow through on that promise.
The Weekly Vice Reaction:
The last time I was unfortunate enough to require hospital care, I stayed for a few hours and the hospital ran some routine tests. The bill ran into the thousands although the tests conducted were simple $75 clinical sample tests.
Private hospitals thrive on massive revenue, city subsidies and tax advantages. How often after all do you see a hospital having a "going out of business" sale? What would a used bed pad be worth anyway?
The Vice contends that hospitals who thrive on it's monopoly of the sick while receiving perks and incentives from public sources should be banned from releasing a patient into a potentially harmful environment that's incompatible with his/her ailments.
The fact that the hospital should be sued in order to compel the hospital into civilized health practices is an outrage. Our government has seen fit to regulate everything else in hospital operations, yet the user of those operations is beholden to the hospitals option of securing their welfare?
Perhaps a private hospital can't be forced to provide treatment, but it should certainly be required to insure that it doesn't release patients into an environment that is likely to make the condition(s) worse.
If it's true that the hospital made a commitment to change their practice and still has not, then I would expect (and hope) that the hospital will be sued senseless to established a precedent in this case that equals the apathy it has shown towards it's customers (patients). We'll be watching this case to see what the legal outcome is.
The Weekly Vice
Share your opinion. Click 'comments' to express your view!