San Diego

A former nurse speaks out about a San Diego hospital allegedly rushing homeless patients out and back onto the streets

Others say ‘affected person dumping’ is a frequent prevalence at hospitals all through the area

SAN DIEGO — Heading west on Washington Street towards her new job as a nurse technician at Scripps Mercy Hospital, “Christine” noticed a man slouched over in a wheelchair in a car parking zone close to the intersection of third Avenue and Washington Street. Judging by the man’s posture and as a result of he was wearing a hospital robe with a hospital bag subsequent to him, she knew one thing was unsuitable.

She pulled her automobile over and approached the man.

“I immediately called 911 and started to do CPR, I could tell as I got closer that he was dead.”

Added the former nurse technician, “It’s upsetting, so many people drove by him that day. They could have helped him, maybe saved him from dying. But people were probably like oh he’s homeless and probably just drunk, or on drugs. It’s just another unsheltered person, it speaks to the collective attitude of society.”

Christine, who needs to remain nameless, is now talking out about how some homeless patients at Scripps Mercy and San Diego’s city hospitals are handled and the frequency that many are rushed out of hospital emergency rooms, typically with no place to go, no shelter to remain at, and no plans for care.

Allegations of ‘affected person dumping’

Her testimony comes as San Diego’s City Attorney is pursuing a lawsuit towards Scripps Health for allegedly dumping homeless patients on the streets with out fundamental care or a therapy plan.

In that lawsuit, the metropolis says Scripps workers discharged a man from the hospital who couldn’t look after himself. Investigators later discovered the man unresponsive and barely coherent at an unbiased dwelling facility.

The allegations in the lawsuit are not any shock for the former nurse tech at Scripps, Christine.

During her practically two years of working at Scripps, Christine says seeing homeless patients ushered out of the hospital and onto Fifth Avenue was a common prevalence. 

“We would just discharge them to Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest. They weren’t given a bus pass or a taxi ride back to wherever they stay, where they sleep at night. They were left without support. Security guards would make sure they don’t stay on the campus and act as a barrier for them coming back.”

Christine says she noticed homeless individuals strolling of their hospital robes round Hillcrest and Mission Hills on a common foundation.

Now, the former nurse technician says she needs to see change.It ought to start from the high down.

“There’s a lot of dehumanizing. It’s in stark contrast to how a patient who maybe doesn’t appear unsheltered,” stated Christine. “The care that they receive is different. There’s a general consensus that these people just don’t really deserve care, you know that that’s not really an emergency. They’re just there, you know, to kind of hang out, I guess.”

Added Christine, “From a medical standpoint, if you are providing care to somebody, and you’re aware that they’re not going to receive the care that you intend for them to receive, that’s a form of like abandonment of care.”

Christine says hospital executives at Scripps and different hospitals that deal with a excessive variety of homeless patients want to make sure correct coaching for all workers. Hospitals, she stated, want to provide extra resources to the social employees who oversee discharging patients. 

“The resources just aren’t there for staff and administrators and the board of directors needs to make sure they are,” she says. “The general attitude is that this patient population is something that needs to be dealt with, not people to be supported or helped. At the end of the day, that attitude is harmful.”

Response from Scripps

Scripps, denies the allegations that the hospital treats homeless patients totally different and dumps them out onto the streets with out a plan or assist.

A spokesperson for Scripps Health says it “has not received any complaints from patients regarding our hospital discharge process, which complies with state law, regulations and local requirements.”  

Furthermore, “Scripps gives homeless patients weather-appropriate clothing as needed, feeds them a meal, provides them with their prescriptions and/or medication, screens them for infectious diseases, and offers them any necessary vaccinations. We ensure they are safe to leave the hospital and work with them to develop a discharge plan, which includes giving them discharge instructions, follow-up for medical or behavioral health care needs, and providing them with information and access to community resources so they can access food, clothing, and shelter.”

Added the spokesperson, “It’s vital to notice that homeless shelters don’t settle for newly homeless patients immediately from hospitals; they have to be assessed and established by particular group businesses.  

The Scripps spokesperson says the hospital supplies bus passes or taxi vouchers and makes certain they’re given choices upon discharge. 

“They have a right to self-determination and can accept or decline the resources offered,” stated the spokesperson. “We’re proud of the tireless efforts by our dedicated staff in helping patients address what can be very challenging situations in the hospital discharge process. We have no reason to believe there has been any deviation in our adherence to our discharge process.”

The Larger Problem

Some homeless individuals and homeless advocates say the downside is just not unique to Scripps however is a regional subject however is occurring at hospitals all through the county, together with a few blocks away from Scripps Mercy at UC San Diego Medical Center.

Aaron Mellon was homeless for 10 years earlier than discovering housing in March. Mellon says he spent most of his time in Hillcrest and Mission Hills whereas dwelling on the streets and was discharged from UC San Diego Medical Center with out sneakers on his ft.

“They were shooing me away,” Mellon instructed CBS 8. “I had a piece of gauze and a bandage on my leg, totally barefoot. It’s like people are trying to get help and they’re totally denied.”

As for the similar allegations towards UCSD, a spokesperson stated that “safety is a priority for all patients at the time of discharge. I can confirm for you that our current process is that patients who are experiencing homelessness are, at a minimum, provided with a list of shelters and, if needed, means of transportation to arrive there.”

Homeless advocate Amie Zamudio typically drives the space round the two hospitals and she says she sees homeless individuals nonetheless carrying hospital garb on a common foundation. 

“It happens on a daily basis and it is a systemic failure that is seen at hospitals throughout the city and county. Every hospital does this,” says Zamudio. “I have walked patients who get out of one hospital straight to another hospital.”

Meanwhile, the metropolis says it’s working arduous to make it possible for these with out properties have shelters out there to them. A spokesperson for the metropolis additionally stated that hospitals are liable for ensuring that discharge plans are in place.

“It is the responsibility of the hospitals to create a discharge plan that is appropriate for each person’s care needs,” the spokesperson instructed CBS 8. “The City of San Diego has worked over the past year to create more shelter options for those with specific and higher needs and continues to advocate for more recuperative care options across the County. The City stands ready to assist hospitals as they develop strategies for improving how individuals experiencing homelessness are released following medical care at one of San Diego’s hospitals.”

“The city is failing. It is talk without action,” stated Zamudio. “I ask anyone to go and try to find out about recuperative care beds and how easy that is to get into. It’s far from easy and far from available. I know. I am the one searching for places for medically compromised people to go. It is all talk.”

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