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example, one man appeared at the emergency room door suffering
from gangrene of the intestines. It was later – somehow
– discovered that there in the hospital ER, he had fallen
off his gurney and for more than 12 hours had been laying
right on the floor of the emergency room in a large pool of his
own vomit…. stone cold dead.
patient appeared in the emergency room with gangrene on his leg,
pneumonia and a collapsed lung. And kidney failure. He stayed
in the emergency room for more than 22 hours and received nothing.
The good news is that in this specific case the hospital staff
wasn’t terribly encumbered by any huge cold body laying
stiff on the floor which would have created a general traffic
hazard to the many visitors and staff who were passing by.
Then there is the woman, with absolutely no regard at all for
the delicate ears and noses of ER staff, who actually writhed
in pain on the ER floor screaming and vomiting blood -- for nearly
an hour -- and nothing was done. Well, that's not really true,
the ER staff (and even other patients) called the police to have
that screaming woman wriggling around on the floor hauled away.
The police arrived and there was some discussion between the police
and the ER staff about the purpose of "a hospital" and
the delicate nuances in the term "Hospital Emergency Room."
But, well, everything worked out as well as can be expected. The
woman died before the police could take her to another hospital.
Her colon had ruptured and all of her feces seems to have swished
around her internal organs and she kinda slowly watched herself
ferment to death.. or something.
the authorities demure that this hospital does “seem”
to be somewhat “out of compliance” in the areas of
nursing, pharmacy and quality assurance but it remains open as
a symbol of neighborhood strength and of our collective cultural
links between MLK Hospital and Mexico are more interesting than
one might imagine and even include a former MLK doctor who was
arrested on suspicion of killing a former patient of the hospital
– a deaf-mute – during a “sexual encounter”
in a border town -- Calexico -- hotel room. This would be a humdrum
affair if it weren’t for the dozens of video tapes of many
other such encounters which seem to have all been recorded right
at MLK Hospital and which include
an unconscious naked man strapped to a board. During one of
these "diverse" encounters which occurred right inside
an MLK hospital room, the doctor had barred the door and police
were called. The doctor finally opened the door and showed the
police his hospital identification. The police did notice the
straps and the video camera but it’s really best not to
rile the neighborhood (e.g. The Watts and Rodney King riots) and
/ or face a massive lawsuit, so they left.
"hospital" handles about 45,000 emergency room cases
a year. It's clients have little regard for deportment and the
hospital's interior walls are covered in filth and many have the
drywall kicked in. There are other hospitals ringing the area
to the south and west and east. Police and others "in the
know" make it known that the last place they want to be taken
if wounded is MLK hospital. They would prefer the half hour to
45 minute ambulance ride (Los Angeles is a big place remember)
to a real hospital even if it puts their life in danger.
the "undocumented migrant" does not pay a hospital bill
and because by federal law anyone who makes it into the Emergency
Room must be treated, all of the hospitals ringing these barrios
are facing bankruptcy.
survive, Los Angeles hospitals just close their Emergency Rooms.
Yes, many Los Angeles hospitals have no Emergency Room. They have
armed guards, yes, Emergency Rooms, no. Los Angeles has lost ten
hospital ERs already and the flood of the "indigent undocumented
migrants" is sending a shockwave out from the barrios and
crushing hospital after hospital.
course, the Martin Luther King Hospital is immediately adjacent
to Nickerson Gardens which is the largest federally funded housing
project west of the Mississippi. The Nickerson Gardens complex
occupies nearly 70 acres and is ruled by several youthful groups
which we certainly should not call gangs.
would be mean spirited to ask the "immigration status"
of any of its residents.