Stop Dehumanizing Homeless Patients by Dumping Them in the Streets

Target Karen L Smith, Director & State Public Health Officer for the California Department of Public Health

Goal: Provide quality healthcare to California’s homeless citizens.

10 years ago, over 150 individuals with psychiatric conditions were “deposited” at a Los Angeles shelter en masse. These individuals came courtesy of the psychiatric facility that had been entrusted with their care. They had been relocated after financial hardship and homelessness made them unable to pay the facility in a timely manner. Lawsuits followed; many healthcare facilities across the country began making needed investments in housing programs and other service offerings for vulnerable homeless populations. Orange County, California, however, has seemingly maintained its reputation for casting away impoverished patients, putting profit over human welfare.

More recent outrages have allegedly included a homeless transgender patient sent to the hospital with convulsions, seizures, and serious disorientation, only to be provided a bus token to his “home” – a tent – just a couple of hours later. Patients have also allegedly been found wandering streets still in hospital gowns, while young mothers cradling just-born infants sometimes are dropped off at shelter doors. Once these patients leave the safety of the hospital, they are extremely vulnerable to infection and other dangers. Further, any treatments they may have received will likely wane because physicians cannot properly follow up on care plans.

Homelessness is on the rise all across the country, with rates in Los Angeles alone increasing by 20 percent in the past year or so. While hospitals and other healthcare facilities are undeniably overburdened and often underfunded, they must maintain their duty of care. Sign this petition to urge California’s leading health department in making healthcare access for homeless and other underserved citizens a top priority.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Dr. Smith,

A video captured healthcare aides essentially dumping a wheelchair-bound patient into the streets. Outrage soon followed. Although this incident took place in Washington, DC, think of the many similar instances that no video or audio or human witnesses can observe:…the psychiatric patients discarded at a homeless shelter….the “frequent flyer” young person beset by chronic illness who is sent to his tented home, disoriented and still in pain, after receiving nothing more than bus fare from his local hospital

These incidents allegedly took place in your state, impacting the people you have pledged to serve. Healthcare workers should never have to choose financial solvency over honoring their most fundamental oaths to do no harm. And any American citizen should never be punished because he or she is not rich or profitable enough. Unfortunately, poverty and homelessness are burdens that are not abating but rather on the rise. In LA alone, homelessness has surged by upwards of 20 percent. Children in your state and nationwide are living in poverty at rates unprecedented in modern American history, with basic necessities such as healthcare major casualties of this epidemic.

California is so often a template for the rest of the country. Set a positive standard and legacy that honors your own vow to protect health for “ALL California citizens.” Advocate for a comprehensive reform that addresses “frequent flyer” housing programs, increased street healthcare training, and other needed investments for the state’s homeless. This is an essential  investment in the future of our country and in its most cherished ideals.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Karim Corban

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2 Comments

  1. Deborah Boychuk says:

    Queerfornia run by democraps past 30 yrs. Coincidently, the state as become the worst. Highest taxes,unemployment,homelessness,crime,druga,illegals,queers,sanctuary state,roads,highways,bridges falling apart, etc. People, businesses leaving. This is normal for queerfornia

  2. Elizabeth Sargeant says:

    USA the great, first, last and always.

    Trump doesn’t care about people, just $$$$….

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