Friday, 1 December 2006

Guest Slapper of the Month XI

We, in the Blogosphere, are all in awe of TLP of Tan Lucy Pez: there is no one who is more quirky, more touching, more humorous. No one makes me hoot with laughter the way she does. No one. Here she is in serious mode, though. She can do that too. That TLP! (Sorry, couldn’t resist it. LOL!)

Only the rich can buy health care in America.

The only problem with delivering a SLAP! is narrowing my focus down to one slap. There are a lot of people/groups that I would happily slap. But the one SLAP that I decided on is so obviously over the top, that I just had to go with it. Nope, not anything to do with O.J. Simpson. Anything to do with him is a waste of a good tirade or a slap.

I’m slapping the Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center in California. This hospital dumped hospital patients on Skid Row in L.A. These sick folks were indigent of course. And they were taken to Skid Row by ambulance. That’s right. They were sick enough to be taken by ambulance, and then dumped with no one to care for them.

According to National Public Radio (NPR), the 50 square blocks of Skid Row are home to more than 10,000 people with no where else to go. It has many shelters, social service agencies -- as well as convicted sex offenders and just about any illegal drug you can think of. It’s a horrible, crime-plagued area.

In other words, it's no place for someone who's still sick enough to be transported in an ambulance. But on a recent Sunday, Los Angeles police captured video and still photos of five patients from this single hospital being dumped in this unsafe and unclean area.

When the police interviewed a couple of ambulance drivers they found out that the drop-offs were not a fluke. It was a plan to rid the hospital of indigents. This plan had been in use for some time.

But wait! It turns out that other hospitals in the L.A. area are doing this too!

The hospital staff at Kaiser Permanente’s Bellflower hospital called a cab and paid the driver to take older woman with dementia to skid row and drop her off, according to a Los Angeles Times story reporting on “the first criminal prosecution of a medical center accused of ‘dumping’ patients on skid row.” Earlier this year the 63-year-old patient, Carol Ann Reyes, was videotaped leaving in the taxi from Kaiser Bellflower hospital in LA. She was taken away in her hospital gown and socks, and she was found wandering skid row streets. Reyes had never lived on skid row and was unfamiliar with the area. She was a homeless person, so she was dumped.

The bigger, perhaps better, slap would be to the people of the United States. We don’t have health care for everyone, and as a group we don’t care about our homeless. But I never thought that we would come to this. SLAP!


  1. Bela, you're right. TLP is the greatest.

    Blogmama, that's a great topic. I hear about this a lot, and the first report seems like more than 6 months ago. Of course, I haven't done any more about it than to yell indignantly at my steering wheel, so save a slap for Doug. When I get back. I'm sure lots of women will be slapping me all over Europe.

    Can I rabbit, rabbit here too?

  2. Do I really get to be first??

    This is beyond shocking! It's medieval. I've never heard anything like this. It sounds so illegal.

    I hear so many people say that they don't want "that bad system England has," but it's so much better than this!

    Good slap! Mom:)

  3. Oh, and good morning, Bela! This is a wonderful place, and I must remember to come back in the new year:)

  4. Great post, TLP! It's unbelievable that a hospital would do this. You're right, though: it's shameful that we don't have some type of health coverage for everyone.

  5. So proud. Of TLP, not US healthcare. We need to do so much, and have so little time. And bela ... thanks for inviting one of my favorites (you're one, too) to slap. xoxo

  6. Hi Bela, I have a soft spot for rants and slaps (or should I say tough spot?) - great place ya got here. :)

    TLP, well written piece about a dispicable practice. Good for you raising awareness and giving good slap.

  7. Speechless with horror. I'll never complain about the NHS again.

  8. Thanks to all of you who have commented.

    Yes, Americans should be ashamed. But instead we just shake our heads and say, "that's awful." Then move on about our business.

    Those of you who do have National Health Services, rejoice. Believe me, it's better than our "system".

  9. I had not heard about this and I live here in Los Angeles...That is SHAMEFUL, beyond words!

    I love TLP And this is a very strong informative post....I was unfamiliar with SLAP day....Great idea!

  10. Rabbit Rabbit and Slap Slap. Good one, mama.

  11. I can not imagine how they get away with this if these people are still ill. (Not that I justify if they are recovered but that is another issue). Hopefully someone who is dumped while ill will have enough wherewithall to retain an attorney and sue their britches off.

  12. I never heard of this. It is disgusting. But your post was good.

  13. wow. Bela, this is a terrific site, and i can't imagine a better guest than the magnificent TLP. she is a pistol, and, apparently a pistol-whip, when the mood strikes.

    TLP! excellent guest turn... and EXCELLENT target of your wrath. just one more reason to be pissed off at a certain group of legislators who worked so diligently to undermine Hillary Clinton's efforts a few years ago.

    uh, and correct me if i'm wrong, but a 63 year old woman can hardly be described as "older". last i heard, 60 is the new 40. of course, the bottom line here is that anyone in need of medical attention deserves more than to be dumped off on skid row. isn't America supposed to be the "land of opportunity"? i guess that means you have the opportunity to make it big, or lose it bigger. oy.

    Rabbit, Rabbit, my friend! thanks for this fabulous post. xox

  14. Well! It makes my mild annoyance that the hospital just lost my test results seem really minor. That's an unbelievable story. I will never complain about the HHS again. (Although they have recently decided not to prescribe effective drugs for Alzheimers patients purely because of the cost, so that deserves a slap as well.)

  15. It's always horrible when those in need of extra care and concern are exploited or ignored. Isn't there a saying about a culture being best judged on how they behave toward their most vulnerable members?

    Isn't it also true that although the UK has a national health service and the US relies on insurance, more money is channelled per person into public healthcare in the US? I find that worth mentioning.

    Of course I could be mistaken.

    Great slap, Tan, great choice of slapper, Bela.

  16. It may be true that the US spends more money per person into public healthcare than the UK. I don't know. But if it is true, it's very possibly because our doctors make SO MUCH money! Our doctors are RICH.

    Another issue is the number of medical schools. Again, this is up to our doctors. They deliberately keep the number of medical schools down, and the size of the medical schools is kept small. So, in our country which claims to have a free-market system, the number of doctors is kept artifically low, and therefore, the price of medical care high.

    This is a country where you can buy the very best medical care, if you have enough money and/or good insurance. But if you lack those things, you can't get medical care.

    Every doctor's office here has a sign that reads, "Payment is expected at the time of service."

  17. But I don't wanna pay for bums to get health care! I can afford to pay all my bills, so why can't those bums just get jobs that pay $50,000 more than the national average yearly income, or be born with a multi-million dollar trust fund! Their problem is they are lazy.

    Wow. I must be rich! I am typing like a republican here! You saw the evidence. But now the beer is wearing off and I realize I do not have a trust fund - or a high salary. Also if I get sick and require major health care I will not be able to afford even 1/4 of the bill. Better not get sick!

    You know, Karl Marx once said that you can judge a society by the way the least fortunate are treated. But Karl Marx is a bad word in America. He was a dirty commie who had nothing of value to say. Good thing we just toss out everything he wrote! Otherwise we might have to start treating poor people like human beings! Can't have that here in the "greatest nation on Earth".

  18. LOL, Lazy I. You do some great SLAPS yourself!

    BTW, Bela, this has been great fun so far.

  19. Hi Bela! I echo all of the sentiments--you have a wonderful operation going on over here and TLP is the best of the best.

    Great topic TLP. It just sickens me to see that we as a country are so rapidly losing all sense of humanity.

  20. Thank you sweet Mikki!

    Bela, I was browsing through your Photo Stream just now. How wonderful your pictures are!

    Everyone: take a look at the pictures! They are just beautiful.

  21. TLP, that was so incisive. Great post! I never thought it would come to that, either. When it came out, I spotted the story headline and I thought it must be some kind of sick joke. But when I read past the headline, I felt shock and revulsion. I still haven't moved past that shock.

  22. This happened over 20 years ago in A hospital in New York. Nothing new under the sun. The law was changed there though. Need One Law to cover All states in the US.

    Excellent slap and hell yeah, health care service should be nationalized. The only people that definitely, positively don't want it nationalized are most of the rich; who use scare tactics with the middle class into thinking everything will fall apart if we have National Health Care. It's already falling apart. If you don't have money-Good Luck staying alive.

  23. First, thank you to everyone who ‘talked’ to me too. I was surprised and delighted. Thanks for all the compliments.

    I couldn’t believe it when I read this Slap. I knew the USA didn’t have a Health Service (I watch ER, etc.), but I didn’t know sick people were being dumped like that. It’s horrible and outrageous. How can people whose vocation it is (or should be) to help others behave in such a heartless way.

    It’s been a pleasure to have you, TLP. Btw, I think the photos you enjoyed so much were the ones taken by my partner. I took all the pussycat pics and the ones of the London Eye, etc. but I can’t take credit for the first few ones. I passed on your compliments. :-)

  24. Thank you so much for having me here Bela. I enjoying having my day to SLAP!

    Thanks also to all who commented.

    On the Pictures, they were all good. Take a bow. Both of you.


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