Friday, December 28, 2007

Patient Dumping, the BBC, and Health Care Reform in 2008

It's always nice to get an outside perspective on things when trying to make a major decision. This is true of just about everything. Today we are going to take a look at California health care, and we are going to do so though the eyes of the BBC.

It is no secret that the cost factor is mammoth when it comes to medical care in the United States. It is the factor that prevents lower income people from seeking medical aid until they cannot afford it. Numerous emergency room trips are made every day by uninsured people who have finally decided that their health issue du jour has gotten bad enough to force them to seek help.

This subject, and the brutal way in which it is handled sometimes, is presented in a very striking fashion by David Willis, the Los Angeles correspondent for BBC News:

Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles encompasses 50 square blocks of the city and is home to about 800 people sleeping rough.

Some, with no health insurance and no home, were literally dumped there by hospitals because they could not pay the bill.

He converses with Reverend Andy Bates who runs a mission in the area and has documented over a hundred cases of "Patient Dumping" in the skid row area over the past year and a half.
He told me: "I've seen a lot on these streets, but nothing compares to the woman who was dropped off in a hospital gown, an [intravenous drip] still in her arm, who died 10 minutes later in our reception area of pneumonia - discharged simply because she couldn't afford to pay her hospital bill."
If anyone still needs further proof that the health care system in this nation needs to be reformed immediately this should prove sufficient. Best wishes for your health and for health care reform in the New Year.

George Williams
Blogmaster, Health Care Reform Now

SOURCE: "Healthcare for all in California?" 12/27/07
photo courtesy of efouche

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