The city of Los Angeles. is filing patient `dumping’ charges against Kaiser Permanente. Obviously there are plenty of hospitals dumping patients onto LA’s Skid Row, and obviously the way our society deals with elderly people with dementia, (and younger ones with other problems too)—by leaving them out on the streets—is a disaster. We clearly need a national health and social services system to deal with these issues,a nd Kaiser (and the rest of the health care system) should throw its weight behind us getting one. But given that we don’t the city is just picking the best example, which happens to be from an organization with deep pockets.
And I’m sure that the Kaiser staff meant for the elderly patient still wearing a hospital gown to make it from the taxi into the Union Rescue Mission (rather than as the video shows literally wonder the wrong way down a busy road, not even on the sidewalk). But for KP, this is just a damning indictment:
The Los Angeles city attorney’s office filed false-imprisonment and dependent-care-endangerment charges against hospital giant Kaiser Permanente on Wednesday, the first criminal prosecution of a medical center accused of “dumping” patients on skid row. The charges stem from an incident earlier this year when a 63-year-old patient from Kaiser Permanente’s Bellflower hospital was videotaped as she left a taxi in gown and socks, and then wandered skid row streets.
The day she was discharged, March 20, hospital staff members wrote on her chart that she was “non-talkative,” “forgetful” and “disoriented,” according to court documents.”Despite these findings,” prosecutors said, “the Kaiser Bellflower staff made no other efforts to assess or treat her medical condition.” Instead, the documents say, hospital staff “summoned a taxicab and directed the taxi driver to transport Ms. Reyes to skid row, approximately 16 miles away…. [She] was literally rushed out of the hospital and into the taxi even though the hospital staff could not locate her clothes…. [T]hey escorted her to the taxi without any pants, even though Ms. Reyes expressed concern about her clothes.” Court documents allege that Reyes was not told that she was being taken to skid row.After Reyes arrived at skid row, Union Rescue Mission staff members worked out a special arrangement so that she could remain in the facility during the day rather than check out the next morning and re-apply for a bed later in the day. But three days after her discharge from Bellflower, according to the documents, Reyes “lost consciousness in the bathroom of URM, falling and suffering head trauma.”Jeff Isaacs, head of the city attorney’s criminal division, said Reyes was subsequently hospitalized at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where she was diagnosed with pneumonia, anemia and dementia, a progressive brain dysfunction, and remained in the hospital for at least 45 days. A guardian has been appointed to protect her interests, Isaacs said.
And the cynics would point out that if the patient had spent those 45 days at Kaiser rather than LA County, then they, not the taxpayer, would have paid for it.