LOS ANGELES – The city attorney's office was investigating whether a hospital violated laws when it attempted to leave a paraplegic man at a Skid Row mission. The man was later found crawling in the street in a soiled hospital gown.
A video filmed by security cameras at the Midnight Mission on Thursday shows two medical workers arriving by ambulance and trying to wheel the man, who is strapped to a gurney, into the facility.
After an exchange with security guards, the medical workers took the man back to the ambulance and returned to the hospital. Orlando Ward, a spokesman for the Midnight Mission, said the workers realized the man was not able to walk.
Hours later, a hospital van dropped off the man on Skid Row and left him crawling in the street with nothing more than a soiled gown and a broken colostomy bag, police said.
Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center may have violated federal laws against releasing or transferring patients who are medically unstable, authorities said.
"This seems to be a transfer, not a discharge. Based on initial information, he was in no shape to give any authorization," said Jeffrey B. Isaacs, head of the city attorney's criminal and special litigation branch.
A hospital spokesman said Friday that the man, whose name and medical condition were not released, was taken to the mission after he was found to be in satisfactory condition. The mission had no vacancies, and the man was taken back to the hospital, said spokesman Dan Springer.
Springer called the situation "not only troubling but regrettable" and said the hospital had taken several steps to address the situation.
The hospital will add more social workers and case managers to cover off-hours placement of homeless patients, he said, and it will conduct more training for its staff on how to refer homeless patients to service providers.