LOS ANGELES – Continuing his effort to end patient dumping in Los Angeles, City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced his office has filed a civil law enforcement action against Gardens Regional Hospital and Medical Center alleging the hospital dumped a mentally ill homeless patient on Skid Row and failed to provide proper discharge protocols for the same patient on multiple occasions.
“Patient dumping is unconscionable and will not be tolerated in this City," said Feuer. "We're continuing to do everything we can to stop it. Every patient, regardless of housing status, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect when he or she is discharged."
The lawsuit alleges that just before noon on September 4, 2014, a 38 year-old homeless schizophrenic woman with a history of mental and physical health problems was dumped in front of the Union Rescue Mission in the heart of the Skid Row area of downtown from a hospital van bearing the name of “Tri-City Regional Medical Center”, the former name of Gardens Regional Hospital. The patient allegedly was dressed in hospital paper tops and bottoms, had no money, identification or medication and no arrangements were made for shelter. As a result the victim allegedly wandered aimlessly through Skid Row before finally finding assistance.
Based on further investigation by the City Attorney’s Office, the lawsuit alleges Gardens Regional Hospital had discharged the patient on at least five occasions between December, 2013, and September, 2014, with little to no discharge plan or instructions for future care.
The City Attorney is seeking an injunction against Gardens Regional, their officers, directors and employees, prohibiting them from failing to provide proper discharge and aftercare plans for patients and transporting and abandoning patients in their care. The hospital could also face additional civil penalties, up to $2,500, for each violation.
Deputy City Attorney Will Pirkey of the City Attorney’s Special Litigation Branch is handling the lawsuit. The City Attorney’s Office previously settled three patient dumping cases in 2014 against Glendale Adventist, Beverly Community Hospital Association, and Pacifica Hospital.