Sunday, February 01, 2004

Scandal in LA: Poor Hospitals Deliver Poor Care

Yahoo! News - Report: L.A. Nurses Left Patients Alone
Nurses at a public hospital serving the poor in south Los Angeles left critically ill patients alone for hours and were ordered to lie about patients' conditions, according to a federal report.

The unreleased report obtained by the Los Angeles Times could lead to a criminal investigation and the loss of the hospital's federal funding, a county official said.

Federal inspectors had previously reported that nurses failed in providing basic patient care, doctors allowed problems to fester and Los Angeles County was guilty of poor oversight at Martin Luther King Jr.-Drew Medical Center...

...The hospital, established as a response to the 1965 Watts riots, is the only public hospital in the south Los Angeles area and serves a largely poor population...

We could repeat this study across the nation and find a hundred such facilities. Few would be as bad, but many would come close.

I'd assumed people knew that poor underfunded institutions delivered very poor care to poor people. Heck, relatively well funded teaching hospitals used to deliver poor care to "charity" cases (they're somewhat better now).

Alas, there will be no outrage and no call for a national examination of care for the poor. We've succumbed to so some vile meme that the poor deserve only to be ignored.

We need a modern Dickens to stir our outrage.

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