Friday, June 22, 2007

L.A. E.R. Tragedy . . . Emergency Mental Health Care

Connect the dots between these two stories...

Dr. Cory Franklin has a Commentary in the Chicago Tribune about this tragic story of a lady who died in an L.A. E.R. waiting room with bystanders calling 911 to help her because she couldn't get help in the ER.

Shortly after another bystander made a second futile 911 call imploring paramedics to take Rodriguez to another hospital, she died of a perforated bowel. A security videotape, still unreleased to the public, is said to show her writhing on the hospital floor unattended for 45 minutes. At one point, the tape reportedly shows a janitor going about his business mopping the floor around her.
. . .
This should be the audio of the 911 call... [removed due to misbehavior... try this link to listen: Youtube]

Mary Beth Pfeiffer in yesterday's Huffington Post discusses our broken mental health system.
In the 1990s, Virginia built 18 new prisons and closed 1,400 mental hospital beds. Across America, state spending on prisons spending tripled in the last 25 years while spending on mental health care rose by about a fifth.

And if you thought the era of shuttered hospital beds was over, consider that America lost another 57,000 psychiatric beds from 1990 to 2000. As a result, from 1992 to 2003, American hospital emergency rooms saw a 56 percent increase in people experiencing psychiatric crisis. It's time to stop the bloodletting.

Where is our compassion, our humanity, our duty?