The Los Angeles City Council voted this morning to make the dropping off of a homeless patient a misdemeanor crime in the City of Los Angeles.
We have had a long history of distressed, confused, and very ill patients dropped off on the streets of Skid Row and at our Mission.
Four years ago, a woman was dropped off by a hospital with an IV in her arm and, 10 minutes later, passed away in our guest area from pneumonia. This caused Union Rescue Mission to place cameras on our front entrance so we could document these hospital drop-offs.
Then, in March of 2006, an elderly woman, Carol Reyes, was dropped off by a cab to wander the streets in front of our Mission, and we rescued her from the great danger that she faced. This was all caught on tape. The video of that ordeal was sent all over the world by the news media and played on CNN, 60 Minutes, Dateline, and in the movie SICKO, to name a few.
Just last week a confused gentleman, struggling with mental health issues, was driven 42 miles from a hospital in Orange County and dropped off around the corner from our Mission, on these mean streets of Skid Row. He was lost for a time but, thankfully, was reunited with his family and is now safe in a Board and Care home.
A State law against “hospital dumping” was proposed and made it through committee and the California Assembly only to be vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, much to my disappointment.
We have worked long and hard in this advocacy for our homeless friends, and I am thankful that this law finally passed in the City of Los Angeles.
Special thanks to Commander Andy Smith of the LAPD, Rocky Delgadillo, Jeff Isaacs, Mike Dundas, Gordon Turner and others from the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office for their diligent work on this issue. I am honored and URM is blessed to be represented by the Honorable Jan Perry, City Councilwoman for this District, who passionately spoke up for this ordinance and who always speaks with courage, passion and wisdom on behalf of her constituents.
We are very happy that the City of Los Angeles lived up to its title – City of Angels – today! Andy B.
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