Once again, Mitt says everybody in America has hunky dory health care even if they don’t have insurance:
“We don’t have a setting across this country where if you don’t have insurance, we just say to you, ‘Tough luck, you’re going to die when you have your heart attack,’ ” he said as he offered more hints as to what he would put in place of “Obamacare,” which he has pledged to repeal.
“No, you go to the hospital, you get treated, you get care, and it’s paid for, either by charity, the government or by the hospital. We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.”
He pointed out that federal law requires hospitals to treat those without health insurance — although hospital officials frequently say that drives up health-care costs.
In the emergency room at Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital, Edith Isabel Rodriguez was seen as a complainer.
“Thanks a lot, officers,” an emergency room nurse told Los Angeles County police who brought in Rodriguez early May 9 after finding her in front of the Willowbrook hospital yelling for help. “This is her third time here.”
The 43-year-old mother of three had been released from the emergency room hours earlier, her third visit in three days for abdominal pain. She’d been given prescription medication and a doctor’s appointment.
Turning to Rodriguez, the nurse said, “You have already been seen, and there is nothing we can do,” according to a report by the county office of public safety, which provides security at the hospital.
Parked in the emergency room lobby in a wheelchair after police left, she fell to the floor. She lay on the linoleum, writhing in pain, for 45 minutes, as staffers worked at their desks and numerous patients looked on.
Aside from one patient who briefly checked on her condition, no one helped her. A janitor cleaned the floor around her as if she were a piece of furniture. A closed-circuit camera captured everyone’s apparent indifference.
Arriving to find Rodriguez on the floor, her boyfriend unsuccessfully tried to enlist help from the medical staff and county police — even a 911 dispatcher, who balked at sending rescuers to a hospital.
Alerted to the “disturbance” in the lobby, police stepped in — by running Rodriguez’s record. They found an outstanding warrant and prepared to take her to jail. She died before she could be put into a squad car.
The story of Rodriguez’s demise began at 12:34 a.m. when two county police officers received a radio call of a “female down” and yelling for help near the front entrance of King-Harbor, according to the police report.
When they approached Rodriguez to ask what was wrong, she responded in a “loud and belligerent voice that her stomach was hurting,” the report states. She said she had 10 gallstones and that one of them had burst.
A staff member summoned by the police arrived with a wheelchair and rolled her into the emergency room. Among her belongings, one officer found her latest discharge slip from the hospital, which instructed her to “return to ER if nausea, vomit, more pain or any worse.”
When the officers talked to the emergency room nurse, she “did not show any concern” for Rodriguez, the police report said. The report identifies the nurse as Linda Witland, but county officials confirmed that her name is Linda Ruttlen, who began working for the county in July 1992.
Ruttlen could not be reached for comment.
During that initial discussion with Ruttlen, Rodriguez slipped off her wheelchair onto the floor and curled into a fetal position, screaming in pain, the report said.
Ruttlen told her to “get off the floor and onto a chair,” the police report said. Two officers and a different nurse helped her back to the wheelchair and brought her close to the reception counter, where a staff member asked her to remain seated.
The officers left and Rodriguez again pitched forward onto the floor, apparently unable to get up, according to people who saw the videotape and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Because the tape does not have sound, it is not possible to determine whether Rodriguez was screaming or what she was saying, the viewers said. Because of the camera’s angle, in most scenes, she is but a grainy blob, sometimes obstructed, moving around on the floor.
When Rodriguez’s boyfriend, Jose Prado, returned to the hospital after an errand and saw her on the floor, he alerted nurses and then called 911.
According to Sheriff’s Capt. Ray Peavy, the dispatcher said, “Look, sir, it indicates you’re already in a hospital setting. We cannot send emergency equipment out there to take you to a hospital you’re already at.”
Prado then knocked on the door of the county police, near the emergency room, and said, “My girlfriend needs help and they don’t want to help her,” according to the police report. A sergeant told him to consult the medical staff, the report said. Minutes later, Prado came back to the sergeant and said, “They don’t want to help her.” Again, he was told to see the medical staff.
Within minutes, police began taking Rodriguez into custody. When they told Prado that there was a warrant for Rodriguez’s arrest, he asked if she would get medical care wherever she was taken. They assured him that she would. He then kissed her and left, the police report said.
She was wheeled to the patrol vehicle and the door was opened so that she could get into the back. When officers asked her to get up, she did not respond. An officer tried to revive her with an ammonia inhalant, then checked for a pulse and found none. She died in the emergency room after resuscitation efforts failed.
According to preliminary coroner’s findings, the cause was a perforated large bowel, which caused an infection. Experts say the condition can bring about death fairly suddenly.
You might think that it was just this one hospital or an isolated incident, but you’d be wrong:
A paraplegic man wearing a soiled hospital gown and a broken colostomy bag was found crawling in a gutter in skid row in Los Angeles on Thursday after allegedly being dumped in the street by a Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center van, police said.
The incident, witnessed by more than two dozen people, was described by police as a particularly outrageous case of “homeless dumping” that has plagued the downtown area.
“I can’t think of anything colder than that,” said LAPD Det. Russ Long, who called the case the most egregious of its kind that he has seen in his career. “There was no mission around, no services. It’s the worst area of skid row.”
You know the old saying, “as California goes, so goes the nation?” The health care system in Los Angeles is broken and it’s an exciting preview of what’s coming to your town next if something isn’t done. The population of uninsured is huge here and growing and the hospital system is so strapped that only the richest facilities offer halfway decent care. Get ready America.
If people can live with this, which many can I’m sure, then no problem. Just let paraplegics die in the gutter and women with perforated bowels writhe around in pain on the floor of emergency rooms because people are so hardened that they really don’t give a damn anymore. I guess we can all just cross our fingers and hope we get rich and stay very, very lucky so it doesn’t happen to us. After all, if worse comes to worse we could win the lottery. (Oh never mind, the Governor wants to “lease” the lottery to private interests so that he can cover his ass long enough to get out of office before the entire state budget blows up.)
The good news is that the one thing we can always rely upon is the warm compassionate conservatives who are very, very religious people and hold some things sacred above all others: the rich shalt never, ever have to pay their fair share of taxes and fetuses and blastocysts shall be protected above living human beings. This is what’s known as “the culture ‘o life.” I do believe it was Jesus who said, “if you aren’t entrepreneurial enough to go online and comparison shop for the best emergency room you deserve to be dumped in a gutter to die.” Or maybe it was Newt Gingrich. It’s so hard to tell the difference.