Monday, May 20

Disturbing: Hospitals and Patient-Dumping

Phillip Reese and Cynthia Hubert in the Sacremento Bee write:
"Years before a Las Vegas psychiatric hospital bused a homeless, schizophrenic man to Sacramento without arranging contacts or a plan for care, a different hospital ditched Gabino Olvera on Skid Row in Los Angeles.
"Olvera, homeless and paraplegic, still dressed in his hospital gown and connected to a catheter bag, was found dragging himself along a gutter in 2007.
"The case and others like it motivated the city of Los Angeles to adopt one of the toughest 'patient-dumping' laws in the nation.
"'It's just an abhorrent practice,' said Gil Cedillo, a candidate for Los Angeles City Council and former state senator who played a role in shaping his city's law. 'You can't just take someone from a facility and dump them downtown.'
One wonders just how common this practice is. The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services maintains a list of patient-dumping cases that have been settled here. This seems to me to be just one more symptom of a health-care system in serious need of reform.