What in the World is Wrong With Us?
By now many of you have seen this iconic photo. It has careened around the world on Facebook and global newspapers. The picture is of a Baltimore woman who was discharged by the Maryland Medical Center. Her name is Rebecca and she is 22 years old and Bi-Polar. According to her mother she has been missing for 2 weeks and thus been off medication for that time. Rebecca was found to be disoriented and brought to the Maryland Medical Center Emergency room for treatment. Because of HIPPA we don’t know what treatment Rebecca got in the Emergency Room but she was quickly discharged and hospital security personnel put her in a wheelchair and wheeled her to the nearest Bus Stop. It was at night in temperatures around 30 degrees and all she was dressed in was a flimsy hospital gown and socks.
This is an example of “patient dumping” something that has occurred in hospitals around America. There were numerous examples in Los Angeles where hospitals would discharge patients who could not pay and drop them off in the streets to join other homeless people. But what makes this Baltimore example most egregious is Rebecca could have died of hypothermia had it not been for the efforts of a kindly stranger. The stranger was Imamu Baraka, whose office was across the street from the hospital. He was the one who took the video of this inhumane situation and finally got the First Aid Squad to take her back to the hospital.
This was a complete and utter failure by the hospital. Discharge nurses who are supposed to handle this kind of situation by making arrangements with a homeless shelter or inpatient facilities or just about any accommodation except dumping the woman on the street in freezing cold. The hospital and CEO put out a statement “The University of Maryland Medical Center apologized Thursday and promised a thorough investigation. In a written statement, the hospital states that they share the shock and disappointment of many who have viewed the video. In the end, we clearly failed to fulfill our mission with this patient.” This is an incredible understatement. It took one or more people at the hospital who have NO understanding of what being human means. To decide to dump Rebecca on the street without clothing is indicative of sociopathic behavior. Since when do hospitals hire sociopathic employees? As someone who has spent more than 3,000 days in hospitals, I am personally thankful for the America that used to be and the caring people who attended me.
The doctors and nurses who implemented this situation completely ignored the Hippocratic Oath. What in the world was going through their mind when they decided to send this woman to the streets. Would they have treated their own dog or cat like this, much less a human being? It is not just the hospital personnel who lacked human empathy. Reading about this account in many different newspapers, I found the comment sections very disturbing. Of course many readers provided comments on how shocking this inhumane treatment was. Far too many others provided comments such as what one should expect in the black city and a black hospital or how Obamacare ruined healthcare in America etc.
Trying to separate the troll type comments from what some people genuinely think, is obviously very difficult. However, my overall impression was one of disgust – what has happened to America? Can we ever regain our humanity as a nation?