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L.A. hospitals send patients to skid row

Nov. 26, 2005 at 7:09 PM

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Three Los Angeles hospitals say that they often send homeless patients to the city's skid row when they are released.

The Los Angeles Times reports that hospital officials say that they have few choices because most services for the homeless and indigent are concentrated downtown. They also claim that no patients are released until they are in condition to fend for themselves.

Police and some shelters described seeing people who clearly still needed medical treatment.

Scott Johnson of Union Rescue Mission said that in 11 recent cases homeless men were sent there by taxi or ambulance without anyone calling first to make sure a bed was available. Three of the men were unable to say what hospital had discharged them.

Los Angeles Police Captain Andy Smith said that in one case a man strapped to a gurney was sent by ambulance to the rescue mission.

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