LOS ANGELES, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Police Department has opened a criminal investigation into allegations that a local hospital has been illegally leaving patients on skid row.
The LAPD said it had photographed and videotaped five alleged cases of ambulances from Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center leaving homeless people in the neighborhood, The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.
"This is the most blatant effort yet by a hospital to dump their patients on skid row against their will," LAPD Capt. Andrew Smith told the newspaper.
Officials at the hospital denied the patients had been treated improperly.
John V. Fenton, president and chief executive of the hospital, said three of the five patients had been staying at Volunteers of America or the nearby Lamp Community center on skid row, the Times reported. He said the other two "requested to go to either another skid row facility center or Volunteers of America."