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03-24-06, 10:45 PM #1
Video Catches Hospitals Dumping Patients On Skid Row
Sheriff's department also Accused Of Dumping, but Claims They were Helping & Releasing
Capt. Andrew Smith, commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department's Central Division, said he has proof that the Sheriff's Department is dumping (see slideshow)
LOS ANGELES -- A videocamera recorded a 63-year-old hospital patient dressed only in a gown and slippers being dumped onto a skid row street -- a controversial practice that has come under fire from police, politicians and homeless advocates.
Officials from Kaiser Permanente's Bellflower hospital apologized for the incident, which occurred Monday and was revealed by authorities during a Wednesday news conference.
Slideshow: Police Also Accused Of Dumping
The videotape, recorded by a camera mounted outside the downtown Union Rescue Mission, shows a taxicab making a U-turn and driving out of camera view. Moments later, a woman appears from the direction of the cab, wandering for about three minutes on a street and a sidewalk before mission staff take her inside the building.
"I'm just concerned about a society that would drop its most vulnerable onto the streets of skid row," said the mission's president, Andy Bales, who witnessed the incident. "It really troubles me."
The patient, Carol Ann Reyes of Gardena, said in an interview that she could not remember what happened when she left the hospital, where she had been a patient for three days, or how she got to skid row.
Los Angeles police Capt. Andrew Smith said he believes she was taken there against her will.
City Councilwoman Jan Perry described the episode as "egregious."
Diana Bonta, vice president of public affairs for Kaiser Southern California, said the incident violated hospital policy and would not occur again.
The issue of dumping people released from jails and hospitals onto skid row surfaced in September, when Smith publicly complained about it.
The city attorney's office is investigating and may criminally charge or sue hospitals that drop off patients against their will, officials said.
Last edited by TXCharlie; 03-24-06 at 10:52 PM.
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