Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Least of These My Brothers
A paraplegic man wearing a soiled hospital gown and a broken colostomy bag was found crawling in a gutter in skid row in Los Angeles on Thursday after allegedly being dumped in the street by a Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center van, police said.

The incident, witnessed by more than two dozen people, was described by police as a particularly outrageous case of "homeless dumping" that has plagued the downtown area.

"I can't think of anything colder than that," said LAPD Det. Russ Long, who called the case the most egregious of its kind that he has seen in his career. "There was no mission around, no services. It's the worst area of skid row."

May I rant for a second? First, the concept of dumping anybody on Skid Row is obscene and should be criminal. You then have the added pathos of the man being homeless and missing the use of his legs, sitting in a soiled nightgown. But did you notice the Presbyterian in the hospital's name? What in the fuck of all that is holy is a religiously affiliated hospital doing?

This is behavior I would expect out of Bill Frist's family medical profit center, but now religiously based medical facilities think it's ok to dump a fellow human being like garbage on the streets, in a wheelchair in shit stained bed clothes? What kind of a society are we in the end?

This is a story all democrats who are running for office in 2008 should read. While they collect money from donors who tell them to do nothing, or create half hearted gestures for fixing our medical crisis, they should be reminded of the current system now. We toss away human beings like garbage.

In honor of the Presbyterian hospital's decision to treat their non paying customers this way, a few quotes might be appropriate.

The King will answer them,'Most certainly I tell you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'

My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

May God have mercy on all our souls. We are so blessed as a nation, and we allow this to occur to our everlasting shame.

Update: Back in November 2006, the LA City attorney, the ACLU among others prepared to sue 10 hospitals for the practice.

Officials have spent months examining more than 40 allegations that hospitals dropped patients on skid row after discharge, often against the wishes of the patient. The investigation yielded 15 potential cases, top city attorney officials said.