Yesterday out at "the Corner" I witnessed another example of the daily plight of the powerless who live on our very unforgiving streets.
As I sat in my car taking a phone call that lasted several minutes, an ambulance pulled up at the service station next door. I noticed the ambulance, but could see no one to whom the crew was attending. By the time I finished my phone call, the ambulance was gone, but I noticed that the patient remained.
A very ill Hispanic gentleman sat leaned up against the outside wall of the service station building next door to the old house where I sit on Thursday afternoons. He appeared to be semi-conscious and unresponsive. His friend and protector, Joe, informed me that he had just been discharged from the hospital, but was clearly in trouble. The ambulance had refused to transport him back to the hospital for reasons I couldn't understand.
I called 911 and requested that an ambulance return.
In a few moments, the ambulance with the same crew returned.
I insisted that they pick him up and take him back to the hospital. The man was diabetic and now lying down flat on his back on the concrete pavement.
The crew went to work, placed the man on a stretcher and loaded him into the ambulance and drove away.
As they left, my homeless friends were relieved and hurt.
Why hadn't the ambulance crew responded to their pleas on behalf of their friend?
Why did I get the needed action and not them?
Why had the man been discharged from the hospital?
Was his fate all about money?
Was he "uninsured," not even receiving Medicaid?
Was he undocumented and thus, fair game for being left to die on our streets?
The situation left us with so many unanswered questions.
God help us!
Are we to conclude that there actually are expendable people today in our community?
Is power concentrated in almost exclusively in the hands and voices of people like me, but not my friends who are simply poor even though experts on the subject of poverty?
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Rising from Ashes
Larry James' Urban Daily
A repository of ideas, resources, commentary and opinions concerning the issues facing low-income residents of the inner cities of the United States and how mainstream America largely forgets or, worse, ignores the day-to-day realities of urban life for the so-called "poor." Written and edited by the President & CEO of CitySquare. Please visit CitySquare.
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