Hospital Was Filmed Dumping Homeless Paraplegic On Street, Driving Off

In February 2007, the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles abandoned Gabino Olvera, a mentally ill paraplegic man, on the street: “[The hospital] took him across town in a van and left him in a soiled hospital gown without a wheelchair in the heart of the city’s homeless area.” Olvera, with the help of an advocacy organization called Public Counsel, is now suing them for neglect and elder abuse (although we’re not sure how the second one applies since he’s only 42). His case is “one of about 50 reported incidents in the past 12 months of sick, confused and homeless patients being left by ambulances” in downtown LA.

Witnesses who came to Olvera’s aid said they saw him dragging himself on the ground with hospital papers and documents clenched in his teeth while the driver sat in her van and applied makeup before driving off.

The incident was captured by security cameras at a nearby homeless shelter.

Olvera’s lawyers say that one purpose of the suit is to force area hospitals to stop illegally dumping the homeless.

“Paraplegic man dumped in LA gutter sues hospital” [Reuters]


Edit Your Comment

  1. The Great Aussie Evil says:

    Just when I thought La-La land couldn’t get any worse.

  2. Pithlit says:

    Good God. The Fico story and now this. I’m ready to storm the gates, now. Who’s with me?

  3. bohemian says:

    @Pithlit: Name the time. I’ll go make some torches. This stuff is disgusting.

  4. Raignn says:

    This is one of the most horrible things I’ve read in quite a while. I’ll bring the pitchforks!

  5. fluiddruid says:

    Watch Sicko. Michael Moore covers this phenomenon – the hospitals simply don’t want to waste money on people who can’t pay the piper.

  6. stinerman says:

    This is why either the government needs to quit making hospitals treat people who can’t pay or start paying for everyone who can’t pay via insurance.

    And a hint to those of you who don’t like government social programs, you already pay for those who can’t. The hospital raises their rates on people who can pay (you) to break even. If the hospital didn’t have to treat them, your rates would go down.

    I don’t really want to go down that road. Having to show your insurance card before the ambulance takes you doesn’t sit well with me. Therefore, the only alternative is universal health care.

  7. ChrisC1234 says:

    I can partially understand how large, bureaucratically run institutions can do things like this (I’m not saying it’s right, but I can see how the people in charge can be distanced from what’s going on). What I CANNOT comprehend is how a human being (being the driver of the van) can just DUMP someone like this on the street. You’ve gotta be some sort of heartless bitch to just throw away a human being like this…

  8. B1663R says:

    makes me happy i live in Canada.

  9. ShortBus says:

    Maybe they had a legit reason for this? Surely it must be his fault somehow; after all, *he’s* the one who’s homeless. We can’t have homeless people making homes in hospitals now. Then they wouldn’t be homeless.

  10. snoop-blog says:

    this happens all the time in ca. i read about this at least once a month.

  11. kidgenius says:

    Here’s the thing…if it’s a private hospital (like many are), and this guy can’t pay for it, why should the hospital be paying to treat someone who can’t pay them? Dude, should be in a government hospital (like a county hospital). What ends up happening is that costs go up for the hospital, and then they pass this onto you. Is that fair? No.

  12. snoop-blog says:

    @ShortBus: you bring a good point though, was the hospital supposed to take him home? oh yeah he lives on the street, so they did give a ride home.

    let me ask this: where should they have taken him?

    and, it doesn’t say if he still needed medical attention, AND they dropped him by a homeless shelter, what more do you want?

  13. DrGirlfriend says:

    I am assuming he came in to the hospital originally through the ER. If so, the hospital is legally responsible to stabilize him. When the patient is about to be discharged, the hospital social workers and discharge planners should be working on his case to determine where he needs to be sent. Dumping a patient on the street is never, ever, EVER okay. Regardless of ability to pay. Why? Because a halfway decent hospital will have a system set up to deal with the indigent.

  14. stinerman says:

    As I made the point above, its federal law. Is this fair? Perhaps not.

    You make the distinction between state and private hospitals, which is a good one to make. The only problem I see is in rural areas where there are no public hospitals in the area. Where I grew up, the only hospital in a 20 mile radius is private (although being run by the Society of Mary, I bet they’d see anyone even if forced not to). What do you do then?

  15. youbastid says:

    @snoop-blog: They are supposed to take them to a shelter. And for sure, they aren’t supposed to leave them in soiled hospital garments. And if they’re paraplegic, they’re not supposed to leave them dragging themselves across the fucking ground.

  16. Pithlit says:

    @snoop-blog: Hmmmm, I don’t know, maybe a homeless shelter? Just a wild and crazy idea I’m throwing out there.

  17. snoop-blog says:

    @youbastid: um they did drop him right by a homeless shelter! rtfa.

  18. snoop-blog says:

    @Pithlit: dido

  19. snoop-blog says:

    i’m not saying i agree with the damn system. or that it is ok? just wanting to know what you suggest we do to fix our broken flawed system. if it was as easy as making a phone call to set this guy up, i’m sure it would have been done.

  20. youbastid says:

    @snoop-blog: “Right by” =/= “Brought him in.”

  21. snoop-blog says:

    btw, you can’t reserve a spot at a homeless shelter, it does not work that way. but most of you wouldn’t know anyhow.

  22. DrGirlfriend says:

    @snoop-blog: Being fropped off BY a shelter is not the same as being dropped off AT a shelter. Especially when the man has no use of his legs and was left without a wheelchair.

  23. DrGirlfriend says:

    Or, you know, dropped. Not fropped.

  24. mrsultana can't get a password to work says:

    Technically, “elder abuse” is when your actions (or inactions) cause harm to any adult who is incapable of caring for himself. Not just for senior citizens.
    The system is flawed on many levels in this case. If the patient was stable-ish, it might not be strictly illegal. Also, if he is proven to be somewhat mentally competent, it won’t be elder abuse. Heck, in most states, health care workers aren’t required to report abuse of adults or even spouses (so long as they aren’t stabbed or shot).
    When it comes to psychologically disturbed homeless, the system is worse than broken. The solution of most states in the 80’s to the psych population was to close the facilities and put them on the street. But mentally incompetent homeless have a near impossible time finding consistent help.

  25. FessLove says:

    Sucks for that guy, but from a business view, its not really fair for them to have to pay for his care either. People forget hospitals, in America, are a business, ran for profit. Its a crappy situation all the way around. But yes, they should have dropped him off IN the homeless shelter

  26. snoop-blog says:

    “Right by” =/= “Brought him in.”

    yeah pretty much…….they could have made him walk from there if he was stable. anyone else besides me have a homeless guy come into your workplace and refuse to leave? and have to have the cops called on them just so they stop scaring your customers away? homeless people have even tried to run scams on me and my co-workers. live in the big city…….you’ll get numb to all the sob stories.

  27. Scuba Steve says:

    @B1663R: That’s a great idea, we’ll just start driving our homeless to Canada.

  28. corbyz says:

    @snoop-blog: I suggest we have universal healthcare for everyone, like a lot of (other?) forward-thinking countries. It benefits all, it should be part of the commons of society… just like police protection, fire departments, libraries, road maintenance, public schools, etc. etc.

  29. snoop-blog says:

    since he’s homeless, i’m going to assume he’s getting f-ed by his lawyer. that laywer’s mouth probably watered when he heard about this.

  30. FMulder says:

    @fesslove: from a business point of view he is still a human. Try to keep that in mind, when human beings are involved the issue must include consideration of the HUMAN BEING POINT OF VIEW.

  31. youbastid says:

    @snoop-blog: Did you RTFA? Guy has no use of his legs. Wasn’t doing any walking from anywhere.

    And I live in LA. Don’t give me the “you just haven’t seen what it’s like for yourself” bit.

  32. bohemian says:

    There was a 20/20 or one of those type of news shows did a story on this about a year ago. Not that particular guy. They showed hospital vans dumping an old woman still hooked up to an IV on skid row.

  33. FessLove says:

    @ NOASALIRA Yeah, that is *PROBABLY* why I gave the business side AND the human side. Read my whole post before you respond?

  34. snoop-blog says:

    @youbastid: already gave it to you.

  35. Pithlit says:

    @snoop-blog: We do know enough not to be all “What’s the prob?” about it. Honestly, do you really not understand what is so soul crushing about watching a paraplegic crawling on the ground in a soiled hospital gown with his hospital papers in his teeth? Maybe you’re blaze “What else were they supposed to do?” was your own way of reacting to a shocking story as well. That’s what I’m thinking. Sort of like inappropriate laughter at a funeral, or something. I think a WTF response is totally reasonable here as well though, even if one doesn’t have the whole health care issue wrapped up in a neat solution

  36. snoop-blog says:

    @Pithlit: if you seen that guy on the streets, i’d bet my life savings you wouldn’t put him up for a few days. you probably wouldn’t even make eye contact, and walk by like you never saw him.

  37. Pithlit says:

    @Pithlit: “you’re” should be “your”

  38. Pithlit says:

    I don’t know. Since you seem to think the hospital did all it should have had to do, and those of us who are disgusted by their actions are crazy, I’m thinking you might want to rethink what kind of bets you place if you want to hold on to your money. You don’t have people pegged very well.

  39. TechnoDestructo says:

    Stealing wheelchair from paraplegic > stealing candy from a baby. Both in difficulty and evilness.

  40. snoop-blog says:

    please don’t keep taunting me as i cannot help myself and really don’t feel like getting banned so, i’ll leave you all with this, God works in mysterious ways.

  41. snoop-blog says:

    @Pithlit: just how many homeless have you let stay with you? is it just that other homeless people aren’t as homeless as this guy? or do they have do be dumped from an ambulance before you’d let them stay with you. i was homeless for a while. so i hate it when everybody feels bad but in reality thats all they do.

  42. Pithlit says:

    @snoop-blog: Society’s attitude toward the homeless does indeed suck. You are absolutely right about that. That’s why this story is particularly egregious. I may have misinterpreted your posts here, but I do think that a lot of people read the above story and really think that there is nothing wrong with what that hospital did. They think that because they don’t think the homeless matter because they chose to be that way, and the rest of us shouldn’t expend any money or effort on their behalf.

  43. snoop-blog says:

    the best part of when i was 9 and me and my mother were staying in the shelter was when people acted like we should have had help as if it was her fault. as if she didn’t try to get gov. assistance. its not at all like you think it would be. we stayed there for about a month before we could get gov. help.

  44. Parting says:

    Hum, that kind of reminds me of what started happening in Germany when Nazi became government.

    Then they started killing mentally retarder and homeless…

    He’s a HUMAN being. And how could a country be called civilized when life has a dollar amount? And health is purely profit? Why so many countries have universal coverage, and private healthcare in the same time? In any case, cost is always SPREAD between users. Either by private insurance or taxes. And from a financial point of view, universal coverage costs LESS than the mainly private system that is in use in USA right now.

    Right now, only insurance companies profit from the system in USA. Not users. And not scrupulous hospitals.

    And imagine YOU become homeless due to a set of circumstances. There so many things that could happen. If you become mentally ill who’s going to blame YOU for costing a buck to the system?

  45. jawacg says:

    Looking up this “hospital”, it is a privately owned institution. But at the same time it is a teaching hospital associated with USC School of Medicine. This being said wouldn’t you think they are probably getting some of that lovely tax money for letting students come and get experience there? Between that and looking at their website, the whole thing reeks of mo’ money to me. Maybe someone in Cali ought to ask if that is the best and wisest use of money to associate with someone who has the morals of a loan shark. Scratch that, the loan shark would probably have higher morals. Wonderful what the doctors are learning too. No money, no rights. As far as I am concerned, homeless or not he is a human being and if they don’t want to treat him take him to a hospital that will care for him with a little dignity. Hearing things like that make me glad I am just a backwards redneck in Tennessee. Bet you wouldn’t see Vanderbilt Medical Center do that shit and they got all sorts of cash.

  46. Scazza says:

    @B1663R: Damn straight… Place sounds so scary that if you cant pay, you might get ur ass driven across town and dumped…

    Yay Canada!

  47. Charles Duffy says:


    if you seen that guy on the streets, i’d bet my life savings you wouldn’t put him up for a few days. you probably wouldn’t even make eye contact, and walk by like you never saw him.

    …and your point is?

  48. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    What are they supposed to do with them? Waste thousands of dollars a day? I am not advocating doing this here, but seriously, what else can they do?

  49. Pithlit says:

    @MyCokesBiggerThanYours: I don’t think it’s either spend thousands of dollars a day on them, or let them crawl on the street in their soiled nightgown. I think the answer to your question is just about anything other than what they did. Personally, I say yes, you spend thousands of dollars on them a day if that is what they need, and if that is what they need it isn’t a waste, but I realize not everyone shares that view, and I don’t necessarily think that makes a person an ogre if they don’t. But, I would hope that regardless of where a person falls on the political spectrum, he or she would agree that dumping them on the street in the manner this hospital did is simply unacceptable in any civilized society. I don’t think the reaction is because everyone thinks thousands of dollars should be spent. The reaction is to the sheer brutality of the treatment. It’s beyond the pale. There are a variety of ways it could have been handled. At the very least, they could have given the man a change of clothes and a wheelchair. I still don’t think that goes far enough, but at least it shows a modicum of humanity.

  50. Parting says:

    @MyCokesBiggerThanYours: Like a said, Nazi started by talking like this, and then killing every homeless and mentally retarded.

    I hope no one will waste thousands on you when you’ll be in need of healthcare or anything else you need to get going in a tough situation. Oh! Wait, your life is so much more precious. Or NOT!

  51. Jaysyn was banned for: says:

    @chouchou: Godwinned!!

  52. jonworld says:

    I think the air pollution in L.A. got to those people’s heads at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center.

  53. Petrol42 says:

    PITHLIT, I could see you’re a compassionate guy and have genuine concern for your fellow brothers and sisters but I’ve talked to alot of homeless people and my conclusion is homeless people are homeless because they don’t want to work. They’d rather get loaded all day long. There are exceptions like how Snoop-blog and his family tried to get assistance but it didn’t get to them in time but I truly believe most homeless people don’t want to work.

    With that said, I feel its fucked up for a hospital to do that but administrators at these hospitals have their hands tied. Alot of hospitals are losing money because of the way our system is structured and it is the administrators job to make sure their hospital is profitable. Is it right? Fuck no but if the administrators don’t make money for the hospital, the administrators are out of a job. So whats a person to do? I challenge anyone to try and make difficult decisions like this when their job is on the line.

    Our healtcare industry is all fucked up right now and I don’t see it getting any better but we can’t blame the hospitals or doctors or administrators for this fuck up. The real blame goes to the government for letting this happen. The Nixon administration let healthcare get privatized thus leading to the proliferation of HMOs where profit is their main goal, not improving peoples lives. The thing to do to stop this is all the citizens of this great country need to write their congressman/woman and their House Representative about our fucked up healthcare and then see if they’re doing anything about it. If not, vote their asses out because obviously, they’re not looking out for their constituents best interests. If the people on this blog are complaining about our healtcare system and don’t bother to let their state rep know about it and use your voting power, then YOU’RE part of the problem.

  54. glass says:

    We should, in this super power country*, have free health care. But we don’t. So to all the bleeding hearts complaining about the hospitals actions, tell you what; *you* pay the bill. Because I’m tired of paying it with my tax dollars.

    They *should* have dropped him off in the shelter, not by it. But I wasn’t there. For all I know, they dropped him off at the curb in front of the shelter. And for all I know, he still has partial use of his legs. Did he drag himself into the hospital in the first place? I doubt that.

    It’s an effed up situation, but it’s taking place in an effed up country. Let’s not act so surprised.

  55. glass says:

    * for the time being…

  56. banmojo says:

    @ChrisC1234: yeah, you clearly haven’t taken care of some asshole homeless alcoholic who sneaks drinks when they think no one is watching, piss and poop in their bed because they know the nurse will clean them up, expose themselves to the candy stripers to get some sick sexual pleasure (or more likely in anger as it shames the victim). I’m not defending this particular hospital or this particular incident, but if you haven’t worked in a hospital caring for these people, you just don’t know the truth of the matter. Hospitals are NOT boarding homes for homeless, yet hospitals are often tricked into boarding homeless (they come in feigning all kinds of illnesses, or even threatening to commit suicide, knowing that it will get them 2-3 days of warm bed/food/drugs). MOST OF YOU JUST DON’T F4#@ING KNOW. So please don’t judge something you don’t know about, you’re ill equipped to stand judge and executioner here, but most of you seem willing to do just that.

    This homeless guy, most homeless people, HAVE the ability in this great country to get back on their feet. This is a f$#@ing fact. MOST homeless do not have the will, desire, drive, whatever you want to call it, to do so. You wanna call alcoholism or drug dependency a disease? All right then, let’s FORCE these people to get clean, force them to STAY clean (it can be done) and require them to contribute in a positive way to the society that has allowed them to live (for far too long if you ask me) on its coattails. I’m tired of people complaining about society’s ills with no solution in mind. That’s a lot of empty f4#@ing wind. Hot air. Zeffer. Nada.

    Tough times demand tough solutions, even ‘draconian’ ones. Society today would shun a ‘leper island’, even though in times past having a ‘leper island’ saved 1000s of lives. So now we must suffer the consequences of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, where MOST of the HIV infected got so through risky sex or IV drug abuse (MOST, not ALL yfa). Sooooo, now we have 1000s and 1000s of AIDS patients costing US more money for health care, we have AIDS patients BRINGING BACK TUBERCULOSIS into the USA, which had almost been eradicated from our country in the early 70s.

    The masses don’t KNOW what to do to fix our problems, which are very very real and are piling up day by day. The politicians running right now have HALF solutions, or WORSE, which aren’t solutions at all. I predict that we’re totally screwed. We may make it another 20-50 years, but beyond that I see a very real ‘end of time’ approaching. And with the human population climbing up to 20 billion by 2050 (that may be off a little, I’m pulling that up from memory) human life, which in most places is already considered quite cheap, will become universally ‘cheap’ and one shudders to imagine what horrors that will bring.

    You f4#@ing bleeding hearts who don’t have the BALLS to make the tough choices today to stave off this future will realize far far too late that sometimes hard solutions in the long run end up saving lives, saving society.


  57. Elvisisdead says:

    Under EMTALA, the hospital isn’t required to care for a patient long term – they just can’t turn them away if they present in the ER.

    The very simple fact of the matter is that hospitals are not the appropriate facilities for mentally ill individuals. Should they have dumped him downtown? No. However, if they couldn’t place him in a state facility or private charity, they don’t have much of a choice. They can discharge him from their facility where he would have left through the front door, and gone around back to the ER again where he would cause problems and take an available bed from someone who really did need emergency care.

    It’s a messy problem, but just to reiterate, the hospital had no legal obligation to keep him.

  58. Parting says:

    @Elvisisdead: There is a difference between taking him TO the charity and dropping a patient on the street besides charity. Especially when the patient cannot WALK.

  59. Parting says:

    @banmojo: You forget that most homeless suffer from a range of mental problems. From maniacal depression to schizophrenia. They should be in hospitals and not on the street. A person with a mental problem CANNOT use all resources to get yourself off the streets. They need medication and care first to stabilize.

    And Tuberculosis is can be caught by ANYONE. So AIDS bringing it in USA is bullshit. A person that has Tuberculosis that breathes on you and you have a chance of catching it.

    As for sur-population and hard solution, your kids should euthanase you. You are the mass. You cannot take care of yourself. And they will inherit your money.

    And if you are not part of solution, you are part of the problem.

  60. edrebber says:

    If a paralyzed individual is left in the street, it’s highly probable that their condition will deteriorate to the point that they need to be admitted to the emergency room of a hospital. Putting all moral judgments aside, it doesn’t make economic sense for a hospital to abandon handicapped individuals in the street. Not to mention the negative publicity the hospital is receiving. Patients with the means to pay may choose to take their business elsewhere.

  61. @kidgenius: The problem isn’t that he was dumped, its that he was dumped on the street, as opposed to a Mission, where he could have gotten assistance. Los Angeles does have some programs set up to help the sick and infirm homeless, although downtown Los Angeles has 60,000 homeless that the city keeps trying to steamroll over. Two years ago, the mayor pushed through a piece of legislation that outlaws tent cities, like Skid Row, so now the homeless who don’t find space in the Missions or the other shelters HAVE to pack up EVERYTHING they own every morning or get arrested.

  62. snsr says:

    The hospital isn’t a homeless shelter. I don’t want to sound insensitive, but I don’t want to pay for this guy’s emergency room habit. I can barely pay for my own medical care.

    They should have called the LAHSA Emergency Response Team- which I just found in two seconds of googling- at (213) 225-6571.

  63. glass says:

    @snsr: They should have called the LAHSA Emergency Response Team- which I just found in two seconds of googling

    yeah, theyll just pump that into their treo….

  64. Sudonum says:

    USC is a private university. A glance at their financial statement [] shows that they receive NOTHING from any government entity related to Health Care Services. They do appear to have a research grant in the amount of $245,463 from some government entity. I also looked for Hollywood Presbyterian on their list of affiliates. They are not listed by USC. Draw you own conclusions.

    This [] article also sheds some light

    “Olvera was taken to Hollywood Presbyterian after an automobile accident, according to the complaint. After his arrival, the suit alleges, hospital officials failed to diagnose and treat him for a urinary tract infection or take into account apparent signs of mental illness.

    After several hours at the hospital, Olvera was taken by ambulance about 12:30 a.m. to the Midnight Mission in the skid row area of downtown Los Angeles.

    The mission staff noted that Olvera did not have a wheelchair, and they did not have the facilities to deal with someone in his condition, the suit alleges.

    Olvera was brought back to Hollywood Presbyterian and placed in a wheelchair in a corner of the waiting room, where he sat unattended for eight hours with no food or water, according to the suit.

    “During this time, Mr. Olvera continued to exhibit signs of mental instability, which were ignored by the hospital,” Vera said.

    The next morning, Olvera was driven to skid row.”

    Yes, the attorneys probably were salivating when they saw this case.

  65. Sudonum says:

    Damn link won’t work. It’s the 6th story down on this page. Free registration may be required. []

  66. chartrule says:

    I would guess, going by the press piece that this has been going on for awhile and probably will not stop anytime soon.

    Hollywood Presbyterian must be quite the cold and uncaring place

  67. youbastid says:

    @Petrol42: And to everyone else that thinks along the lines of “my conclusion is homeless people are homeless because they don’t want to work.” A majority of downtown LA’s homeless are VETS. Something like 70%. From Vietnam, Korea, even Iraq. I bet you’re the same assholes that whenever anyone says something against a war, you say “support our troops.” Well, now’s your chance!!!

    Sure, there’s a good chance that a lot of them want to get loaded or fucked up on drugs, but they’re also bat shit crazy from PTSD and it’s a way for them to escape. It’s our government’s lack of support for our troops AFTER they send them off to war that’s contributing greatly to this problem.

  68. youbastid says:

    @youbastid: And the statistic for the rest of the country is 25%, fwiw.

  69. ceejeemcbeegee is not here says:

    @ChrisC1234: OR so scared you will lose your job if you DON’T “follow procedure” you turn a blind eye to such atrocities.

  70. FCAlive says:

    I think that this highlights the problems with a for-profit medical system.

  71. kbarrett says:

    That for profit medical system you complain about is the best in the world, despite whining by socialist ‘tards like Moore.

    Canada’s health system works because they can ship the cases they can’t handle a few miles south to the US.

    The reason we are in this current state is because of activist judges and the federal government. If an indigent was injured, the ambulance would simply deliver him to the county hospital, and he would get government provided medicine … not as good as a private hospital, but still free.

    Judges started allowing indigents to sue for not being brought to the nearest ER, and the US congress passsed laws requiring all ERs to handle all walk-ins, regardless of ability to pay.

    End result:

    County hospitals get closed down all over.

    Only the insured get charged real cost for their care.

    The homeless and indigent get the very least help the hospital can get away with … and this help is paid for by people who work but do not have insurance.

  72. MelL says:

    @kbarrett: But are we, as a country, ready to let people die on the steps of a hospital because they lack the ability to pay, in order to save money?

  73. Anonymous says:

    I have no compassion for homeless people. Let them die. And I say that with true experience. My father was homeless… everyone tried to help him. Everyone. People went into debt giving them their own money to keep him afloat. but he took advantage of everyone, didn’t pay any of his bills and ended up on the street. Now he blames everyone but himself when he did it completely to himself. It’s no one elses job to look after you… and that includes the hospitals.

  74. MelL says:

    @melanie.dawn: I think it goes without saying that not everybody who is homeless is the same person as your father. But if it makes it easier for you to turn a blind eye, go for it.

  75. Parting says:

    @melanie.dawn: Not every one is your father. As much as you despise him, he’s only one among many. You use your bitterness against every homeless person. It’s the same logic as a misogynist who hates women because his ex dumped him.

    Most of homeless people could be kept off the streets, either by mental health programs, social re-education or additional resources. The magic of this, is the fact that it would cost a lot LESS than government programs investing in BIG business, who can take very well care of themselves. Or military programs to fight wars in countries that don’t give ship about USA. Or tax cuts to the ultra rich, who don’t need them already.

  76. the_wiggle says:

    @Pithlit: i’ll bring the rope.

    they could at least have left him the wheelchair ferchrissake.

  77. DoctorMD says:

    These are sad stories but what else is the hospital supposed to do? The Rebublik of California shut down all its mental hospitals and has no other alternative programs set up. Hospitals would quickly turn into shelters.

  78. avantartist says:

    I think they should have done what their mission statement states:

    Mission Statement – “Quality care with compassion and respect.”

    I live 8 blocks from the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. The Kaiser Permanente Medical Care is only five blocks away from the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. I wonder if the private ambulance service gave Gabino Olvera a choice of hospitals.

  79. gingerCE says:

    I actually know Public Counsel. I hate to say this, but he is probably an illegal immigrant as they are known to work a lot with helping illegals in Los Angeles–and I could see them jumping to take on this case–maybe not in a good way. While I sympathize with him, there needs to be a system where a shelter can take him in. The hospital did attempt to drop him off at the shelter but the shelter refused him. If the hospital did call other shelters (and there aren’t a lot in Los Angeles), the other shelters probably told the hospital they had no room. Nobody wanted him, not the shelter, not the hospital, etc . . . in the end because of his mental illness they should’ve dropped him off at a mental institution of some kind.

  80. fishiftstick says:

    The hospital has painted a nice fat bullseye on its butt here, but to be fair we are all equally to blame for this situation. As a society we have an obligation to end homelessness, but it is unfair to place the economic cost of preventing it on one sector of the economy.

  81. fishiftstick says:

    @kbarrett: While the Canadian system isn’t perfect–is the US system of HMOs?–very few patients get “shipped off” to the US, and that certainly is not what makes the system work. About as many American patients seek treatment at foreign hospitals to avoid the high cost of US health care.

    Having lived in both the US and Canada, my conclusion is that if you can afford, or your job provides, top-notch coverage in the US, you are marginally better off there. But if like many Americans your job doesn’t include decent coverage and you can’t afford it, you are much better off here.

    Also, if you are middle class and get really sick, in the US, you are basically screwed. The government doesn’t cover your care, and insurance won’t renew or will become much more expensive.

  82. crankymediaguy says:

    “Here’s the thing…if it’s a private hospital (like many are), and this guy can’t pay for it, why should the hospital be paying to treat someone who can’t pay them?”

    Right. I mean it’s not as if compassion for their fellow human being is part of their mission.

    The important thing to remember here is that it didn’t happen to you or anyone you know so it doesn’t matter.

    Is there any way we can put a special tattoo on the forehead of anyone who agrees with the quote above so that the rest of us know not to bother trying to help them if we see them in an upside-down vehicle after an accident or in a burning building? Unless, of course, they can pay us on the spot to assist them.

    Hey, business is business.

  83. trollkiller says:

    Boy there are a lot of issues here. Personally I do not want forced socialized health care or mandatory health insurance. If you want to set up a voluntary Govt. run health care system where fees are on a sliding scale based on income, that is fine by me.

    Most of the homeless I have seen and dealt with are there because they refuse to conform to society. They would rather panhandle then work a job where they have to follow the rules.

    @gingerCE: I “hate” criminal aliens as most of you know, but I don’t care if this guy is fresh from the border you don’t leave a human being with no real clothes wearing a shit stained gown and dragging his ass on a sidewalk.

    @Sudonum: Thanks for digging out more info on this.

    If the man came in after an auto accident he most likely is not homeless and most likely his medical bill would be covered by the auto insurance of the at fault party. So this inability to pay is a bullshit argument in this case.

    The failure to diagnose a urinary tract infection is malpractice at best. Failing to note mental instability is also malpractice. Failing to give the man food or water while he was stuck in the corner in a wheelchair is negligence. Kicking him out of the van on skid row wearing a shitted up gown is just plain mean and hopefully criminal.

    This story did remind me of something important if you are dealing with the elderly or infirmed. A urinary tract infection can cause/trigger mental instability, confusion or dementia. So if grandma all of a sudden seems like she has fallen off her rocker, have her checked for a UTI.

  84. youbastid says:

    The biggest problem any time the consumerist posts an article dealing with a) healthcare, b) healthcare, and c) healthcare, is that tons of people throw their comments in without reading the rest. There are about 90 comments so far, and between every 20 comments or so is someone saying “it’s terrible, but what else should they do?” With about 19 comments in between saying what else they should do.

  85. othium says:

    The facility I work in gets extra money for taking in people like this. They call it “Crisis Placement” – with some sort of added monetary onus for accepting the person.

    The sad thing is that 99% of the time the person who is placed in our facility has been kicked out of several other places before and makes the lives of the consumers and staff hell. Nobody makes a snap judgment on anyone new at this place, but it sure makes everyone a bit wary when someone is moved in late at night(even though there is a year long waiting list). Five of the last six people that were taken in on this “Crisis” program were kicked out after months of their physical and verbal abuse against other residents and staff. Police were called many times and drugs/prostitutes were also in the mix. Only after a lawsuit was threatened did the company move the person(s) out.

    I was as disgusted by this story as many others, but some of these homeless disabled people are very difficult to deal with safely and I believe there needs to be some sort of housing that can handle this type of person – challenging behaviors need to be handled by staff who are trained and willing to help them. There just aren’t a lot of those types of homes available and these disabled people end up getting dumped on the street. It’s a vicious cycle with no end in sight.

  86. rolla says:

    eh, Its LA…the whole town is a wasteland. I say dump all teh homeless in that crappy city. hahaa…