[Hpn] Hospitals Accused of 'Dumping' Homeless on Los Angeles' Skid Row
William Charles Tinker
Fri, 24 Mar 2006 11:09:28 -0500
Hospitals Accused of 'Dumping' Homeless on Los Angeles' Skid Row
March 24, 2006 - It seemed things couldn't get much worse for Marveil
Williams. He was selling drugs and living on the streets of Los Angeles'
Then one night he got a beating he won't forget. "I just know I woke up in
the hospital," Williams said.
But with no insurance, no family and no home, Williams says the hospital
just wanted him out.
"They told me I needed to get out that hospital bed and go find somewhere to
stay," he said.
His head and eyes still swollen, Williams was dumped on the doorstep of Skid
Row's Union Rescue Mission.
"I was lookin' at him and I was wondering why the hospital would have let
him go that way . in that condition," said Gregory Williams, who was also
staying at the mission.
Officials say Marveil Williams' story isn't unique. This week, another
"dumping" was caught on tape. Carol Ann Reyes, 63, was loaded into a cab by
Kaiser Permanente hospital staff and dumped on Skid Row, wearing nothing
more than a hospital gown and socks, police said.
"She was very disoriented. She didn't know where she was or what she was
doing," said Regina Chambers, who works at the Union Rescue Mission. "All
she knew is that she had been to a hospital. She didn't know which one."
Diana Bonta, vice president of public affairs for Kaiser Southern
California, told The Associated Press the incident violated hospital policy
and would not occur again.
Skid Row Services
Officials say a number of hospitals, police agencies and jails in the Los
Angeles area have been guilty of dumping - they take the homeless who are
seeking treatment or crowding jail cells and release them on the streets of
Police Capt. Andy Smith says there's a reason why Skid Row has been home to
the down and out for more than 100 years. There are more services in the
area than the 13 Western states combined - so the homeless keep on coming.
"If you are a person intoxicated in one of the suburbs, chances are you
going to get a one-way ticket to that facility right there," Smith said,
pointing to the mission.
After Smith witnessed a dumping firsthand, he blew the whistle. Now a
political firestorm may lead to changes.
Officials said hospitals that dropped people off against their will could
face criminal charges or be sued. A California state senator has introduced
a bill that would prohibit any arresting agency from taking people who need
drug treatment, mental health services, or shelter outside of their
For now, Marveil Williams remains in a drug and alcohol treatment program at
the Union Rescue Mission. He hopes that by this time next year, Skid Row and
homelessness will be just memories.
ABC News correspondent Miguel Marquez reported this story for "Good Morning
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