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Caught In The Act: Maryland Hospital Exposed By Mental Health Professional In Growing National Crisis Of Patient Dumping

While I’m certain that many across the nation were outraged at a video surfacing on social media, in which a female patient was dumped on a bus stop, only wearing socks and a thin night gown on a frigid night in midtown Baltimore a few weeks ago, the practice is not an anomaly, and more commonly referred to as “patient dumping.” Its a growing problem across the country that depicts the heartless, uncompassionate, and apathetic manner hospitals are choosing to dispose of medically discharged patients who are either suffering from mental health issues or homeless.

Now that the video which captured the incident recorded by a man name Imamu Baraka has gone viral and has garnered national attention, the growing outrage and fallout must be attributed to Baraka’s determination to do something, and become a voice for a woman who clearly appeared disoriented and mentally challenged, as well as other patients just like her who are being dumped onto the city streets.. While her case looked as bad as it could possibly get, the treatment of certain patients in large metropolitan hospitals across the country is unbelievably far worst. I have witnessed similar situations at the University of Maryland Hospital, Johns Hopkins, and even at Bridgeport Hospital here in the town where I currently reside.

At the center of many of these issues are difficult patients who either have psychiatric issues, are homeless, or can’t pay their medical  bill. Despite most of these medical institutions receiving federal dollars to insure every patient gets treated, medical staff routinely shuffle these “bothersome” patient cases out of the ER or clinic for no other provocation in many cases, other than the fact that a patient was deemed disruptive, disrespectful to staff, or otherwise uncooperative. I have worked in hospitals for years dealing with these kinds of patients, and what troubles me the most regarding this particular incident is the callous disregard the security personnel had for this woman.

Typically when a patient has been medically cleared in the ER by either the Physician, PA, or Nurse, a discharge process transpires. The manner in which the patient release is conducted may vary from institutions to the next, but it usually occurs with a patient’s safety in mind. In the subject instance, I’m struggling to ascertain how any medical professional at the hospital could have deemed the woman fit to be released. She clearly didn’t have all of her faculties, and was practically nude. Patients have rights and discharging a patient who clearly is incapable of making sound judgement on their own is a direct violation of HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) laws. Besides why would you put a person (especially a female) on the street in a paper thin hospital gown with no other clothing on on a frigid night like the evening of this disturbing event?

I am no medical professional but I have worked in various hospital settings for years, either transporting patient prisoners or supervising psychiatric patients. Once the patient was medically cleared the Nurse should have quizzed the patient as to whether they had transportation home. If the patient couldn’t make it home on their own, an effort should be made to contact a next to kin to help the patient return to their home safely, and in this instance I can’t see how the woman would have even been able to advise medical staff of a relative that could come to pick her up, let alone get home by herself. That’s when medical staff should have contacted the social worker working at the hospital to assist with the patient’s transition from the hospital to her home. In the mean time, if the patient is disruptive, belligerent, disrespectful, or disrupting the hospital the appropriate manner to handle such incidents is to have the patient monitored by hospital security personnel, and perhaps even restrain them to their bed in an effort to avoid the patient from harming themselves and others.

However, if a patients behavior is of such a nature, perhaps discharging the patient isn’t appropriate in their condition, and should be referred to the hospital’s Psychology Department where they can be evaluated further until such time a relative can be contacted or other information related to the patient’s medical history can be obtained. At any rate, a decision pertaining to the patient’s status should be determined by the hospital administrator and social worker. Every hospital has an acting administrator on duty to make difficult decisions similar to the subject female’s case. If their is no administrator on duty then usually an Attending Physician, PA, or even a Charge Nurse acts as the administrator and becomes an advocate for the patient. The fact that this woman was simply discarded on the street in the manner Mr. Baraka captured, is despicable, and possible may have been predicated on some other superficial factor.

Considering this was a female patient that appeared not to have on any underwear, I’m completely disturbed and troubled that one of the security persons was also female, participated in the action, and appeared unmoved that another woman was being placed on the street in the cold weather nearly nude. Not just that though, how did a group of black hospital security persons become so desensitized by displaying such lack of compassion for a patient who clearly didn’t appear to be in their right mind. I seriously doubt that a medical professional working at the hospital either directed or authorized the security staff to discharge that patient in such a manner. Even if they had done so, I’m sure that they won’t admit it after the case garnered such media exposure.

People who work in public safety like security professionals are normally held to a higher moral standard, and I find it difficult to believe that they collectively condoned their actions in regards to putting the woman on the street in that manner. If medical staff gave them such a directive, one of them should have contacted an administrator or supervisor within their respective department to get clarification on whether to actually proceed with the directive from medical staff. There is no excuse because everyone working in a hospital setting is require to complete in service training related to patient rights and HIPPA laws. So even if the security personnel was actually directed to put the patient on the street in that fashion, they should absolutely have known that not only were their actions wrong and improper, but they were in fact violating the law.

Patient dumping is a growing crisis across the country especially when it comes to the homeless and mentally ill, but the incident that Mr. Baraka captured probably is the first time that such a brazen case of “patient dumping” was actually recorded during the act. Although the hospital’s top administrator condoned the action, vowed to get to the bottom of what happened, and stated that the incident wasn’t indicative of the institutions policy related to patient care, suspicion lingers regarding how widespread the practice of dumping patients actually is at the medical facility. A more frightening thought is what might have happened to this patient if Mr. Baraka hadn’t decided to intervene of the woman’s behave. Thank God for caring medical professionals like him, because the hospital failed this patient at every turn, and society should be thankful that he caught them in the act.

 

The People’s Champion

I’m David Adams

David Adams

Self proclaimed geek, Advocate for the homeless, Social Change, Crime Blogger, and mobile technology enthusiast. A recognized Journalist and Human Interest Writer championing the plight of the masses whom are without a voice of their own.

More Posts - Website

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While I’m certain that many across the nation were outraged at a video surfacing on social media, in which a female patient was dumped on a bus stop, only wearing socks and a thin night gown on a frigid night in midtown Baltimore a few weeks ago, the practice is not an anomaly, and more commonly referred to as “patient dumping.” Its a growing problem across the country that depicts the heartless, uncompassionate, and apathetic manner hospitals are choosing to dispose of medically discharged patients who are either suffering from mental health issues or homeless.

Now that the video which captured the incident recorded by a man name Imamu Baraka has gone viral and has garnered national attention, the growing outrage and fallout must be attributed to Baraka’s determination to do something, and become a voice for a woman who clearly appeared disoriented and mentally challenged, as well as other patients just like her who are being dumped onto the city streets.. While her case looked as bad as it could possibly get, the treatment of certain patients in large metropolitan hospitals across the country is unbelievably far worst. I have witnessed similar situations at the University of Maryland Hospital, Johns Hopkins, and even at Bridgeport Hospital here in the town where I currently reside.

At the center of many of these issues are difficult patients who either have psychiatric issues, are homeless, or can’t pay their medical  bill. Despite most of these medical institutions receiving federal dollars to insure every patient gets treated, medical staff routinely shuffle these “bothersome” patient cases out of the ER or clinic for no other provocation in many cases, other than the fact that a patient was deemed disruptive, disrespectful to staff, or otherwise uncooperative. I have worked in hospitals for years dealing with these kinds of patients, and what troubles me the most regarding this particular incident is the callous disregard the security personnel had for this woman.

Typically when a patient has been medically cleared in the ER by either the Physician, PA, or Nurse, a discharge process transpires. The manner in which the patient release is conducted may vary from institutions to the next, but it usually occurs with a patient’s safety in mind. In the subject instance, I’m struggling to ascertain how any medical professional at the hospital could have deemed the woman fit to be released. She clearly didn’t have all of her faculties, and was practically nude. Patients have rights and discharging a patient who clearly is incapable of making sound judgement on their own is a direct violation of HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) laws. Besides why would you put a person (especially a female) on the street in a paper thin hospital gown with no other clothing on on a frigid night like the evening of this disturbing event?

I am no medical professional but I have worked in various hospital settings for years, either transporting patient prisoners or supervising psychiatric patients. Once the patient was medically cleared the Nurse should have quizzed the patient as to whether they had transportation home. If the patient couldn’t make it home on their own, an effort should be made to contact a next to kin to help the patient return to their home safely, and in this instance I can’t see how the woman would have even been able to advise medical staff of a relative that could come to pick her up, let alone get home by herself. That’s when medical staff should have contacted the social worker working at the hospital to assist with the patient’s transition from the hospital to her home. In the mean time, if the patient is disruptive, belligerent, disrespectful, or disrupting the hospital the appropriate manner to handle such incidents is to have the patient monitored by hospital security personnel, and perhaps even restrain them to their bed in an effort to avoid the patient from harming themselves and others.

However, if a patients behavior is of such a nature, perhaps discharging the patient isn’t appropriate in their condition, and should be referred to the hospital’s Psychology Department where they can be evaluated further until such time a relative can be contacted or other information related to the patient’s medical history can be obtained. At any rate, a decision pertaining to the patient’s status should be determined by the hospital administrator and social worker. Every hospital has an acting administrator on duty to make difficult decisions similar to the subject female’s case. If their is no administrator on duty then usually an Attending Physician, PA, or even a Charge Nurse acts as the administrator and becomes an advocate for the patient. The fact that this woman was simply discarded on the street in the manner Mr. Baraka captured, is despicable, and possible may have been predicated on some other superficial factor.

Considering this was a female patient that appeared not to have on any underwear, I’m completely disturbed and troubled that one of the security persons was also female, participated in the action, and appeared unmoved that another woman was being placed on the street in the cold weather nearly nude. Not just that though, how did a group of black hospital security persons become so desensitized by displaying such lack of compassion for a patient who clearly didn’t appear to be in their right mind. I seriously doubt that a medical professional working at the hospital either directed or authorized the security staff to discharge that patient in such a manner. Even if they had done so, I’m sure that they won’t admit it after the case garnered such media exposure.

People who work in public safety like security professionals are normally held to a higher moral standard, and I find it difficult to believe that they collectively condoned their actions in regards to putting the woman on the street in that manner. If medical staff gave them such a directive, one of them should have contacted an administrator or supervisor within their respective department to get clarification on whether to actually proceed with the directive from medical staff. There is no excuse because everyone working in a hospital setting is require to complete in service training related to patient rights and HIPPA laws. So even if the security personnel was actually directed to put the patient on the street in that fashion, they should absolutely have known that not only were their actions wrong and improper, but they were in fact violating the law.

Patient dumping is a growing crisis across the country especially when it comes to the homeless and mentally ill, but the incident that Mr. Baraka captured probably is the first time that such a brazen case of “patient dumping” was actually recorded during the act. Although the hospital’s top administrator condoned the action, vowed to get to the bottom of what happened, and stated that the incident wasn’t indicative of the institutions policy related to patient care, suspicion lingers regarding how widespread the practice of dumping patients actually is at the medical facility. A more frightening thought is what might have happened to this patient if Mr. Baraka hadn’t decided to intervene of the woman’s behave. Thank God for caring medical professionals like him, because the hospital failed this patient at every turn, and society should be thankful that he caught them in the act.

 

The People’s Champion

I’m David Adams

David Adams

Self proclaimed geek, Advocate for the homeless, Social Change, Crime Blogger, and mobile technology enthusiast. A recognized Journalist and Human Interest Writer championing the plight of the masses whom are without a voice of their own.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle Plus

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