Disturbing Video Of Baltimore Woman Shines Light On Pervasive Problem Of Hospitals ‘Dumping Patients’
A video that went viral shows a disoriented woman in nothing but a hospital gown and socks discharged out into the cold, dark night from the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. The practice of patient dumping, however, is anything but new.
The New York Times:
Baltimore Hospital Patient Discharged At Bus Stop, Stumbling And Cold
A woman who appeared to be wearing nothing but socks and a hospital gown was discharged from a Baltimore hospital on a cold winter night and left alone at a bus stop. A passer-by filmed the woman late Tuesday evening and posted several videos on Facebook shortly after midnight. In them, people in dark uniforms can be seen walking into the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Midtown Campus with an empty wheelchair, leaving the woman alone on the sidewalk. (Fortin, 1/11)
The Washington Post:
Social Media Fury Follows Video Of Dazed Woman Put Out In Cold By Baltimore Hospital
The man hurried up the Baltimore sidewalk with a camera in his hand as four black-clad hospital security guards walked toward him, then past him. One of them was pushing an empty wheelchair. “So wait, y’all just going to leave this lady out here with no clothes on?” said Imamu Baraka, referring to a dazed woman wearing only a thin hospital gown whom they had left alone at a bus stop Tuesday night in mid-30s temperatures. Her face appeared bloody, her eyes empty. It was the latest incident of “patient dumping,” which has sparked outrage around the country — and one that, according to an expert, probably violated a 1986 federal law that mandates hospitals release those in their care into a safe environment. (Cox, Vargas, Moyer, 1/11)
Why Was A Baltimore Patient Discharged At A Bus Stop In Just A Gown?
Dr. Mohan Suntha, president and CEO of the hospital, said at a news conference Thursday that he was confident the incident was isolated and that individuals throughout the organization would be held accountable for the woman's treatment. Suntha said he has tried to reach the man who intervened to thank him for helping the woman and for making the incident public. He said the woman had been treated and not been turned away because she couldn't pay. He said the hospital has a responsibility to address the "social needs" of patients, working with outside agencies. (Kennedy, 1/11)
The Baltimore Sun:
University Of Maryland Hospital Apologizes For Its Failure To Discharged Patient Found On Street In Hospital Gown
The issue of people being put out of hospitals is a nationwide problem. The New York Times first began writing about the issues in the 1870s, when private hospitals were sending patients to the city’s public hospital, according to a 2011 report in the American Journal of Public Health. The 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment & Labor Act forbids emergency rooms to deny hospital services if patients can’t pay. Hospitals must transfer patients they can’t stabilize. The Joint Commission, which accredits hospitals, also requires that hospitals have a discharge plan. But the discharge policies can differ by hospital and the practice of hospital dumping persists. The city of Los Angeles began a crackdown on hospital dumping about a decade ago after several incidents there, particularly along Skid Row, where many of the city’s homeless people live. The city has imposed millions of dollars in fines on hospitals for the practice. (McDaniels and Cohn, 1/11)