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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A mentally ill paraplegic man filed a lawsuit on Thursday against a hospital that dumped him in a gutter on Los Angeles' "Skid Row" -- a case that highlighted the plight of the city's vast homeless population.
Gabino Olvera, 42, sued the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center for negligence and elder abuse after it discharged him in February 2007, 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.
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.
LAPD Officers Eric de la Cruz and Pernell Taylor said they arrived to find the man being carried out of the street on a chair that had been retrieved from the nearby park offices. De la Cruz later asked the victim if he had wanted to be dropped off at the location.
"He said he had nowhere else to go, and the hospital staff told him he could no longer stay there," De la Cruz said of the man, who is being treated at County-USC Medical Center.
The LAPD has accused several hospitals of dumping patients on skid row over the last two years, including Kaiser's West Los Angeles hospital, Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center and Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center.
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I'm speechless. Much have I heard, and some I know, about healthcare in America. Being aware how little social security in general there is, I have however never, never ever imagined it could be cruel like this. This being a medical institution doing it, I just can't find words to express my rage and feelings.
Is it really so, without health insurance you are literally left to die? With no mercy, no care, without charity. In the richest nation on the planet?
A nation that can afford to spend about 300 million dollars a day on a war running, if not endlessly then for decades to come, cannot take care of its weakest and disabled members. Who was it that said, "a society is judged by the way it takes care of its weakest members"?
I'm not gonna praise my Scandinavian background here, but this reality snippet can't help but make me feel that more gratefull for it.