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University of Maryland Medical Center security guards forcibly removed a mentally-ill patient.
She was dressed only in a thin hospital gown. It was 30 degrees. And it was night.
And I thought, this is indefensible. What possibly justifies discharging a barely-dressed patient into a wintry Baltimore night? They couldn’t even dress her first?
Then I did some homework.
While this incident was captured and went viral, “patient dumping” is nothing new. In the 1870’s, New York private hospitals sent poor patients to the city’s public hospital. Today it includes releasing someone, usually homeless or mentally ill, to the streets rather than a shelter or related service.
Then I found a doctor share his “hypothesis,” in quotes because he and admits having spoken to “the front lines.” His story – and plea – gave me valuable perspective I lacked.
To my outside-the-US friends, does patient dumping happen where you live?
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He still felt the outcome was wrong but placed the blame on society and government versus scapegoating this particular ER team.
Amichay H. Gross
Kurt Jeffry Wilson
Seems they’ve confused being hypocrites with the Hippocratic Oath.
There is no way that turning someone out into the cold night in just a hospital gown is “compassionate care”. I’d like to hear one executive/administrator/doctor at UMMC state on the record that such an action contributes to “improving health”.
Duty of care cannot be relieved just because a patient is discharged; the physicians (and by extension all those working with/for them, such as security personnel) have an obligation, legally enforceable through most medical boards, to not put patients at more risk.
Abdelkader Abdallah El Hirtsi
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