Friday, June 21, 2013

Man down

I'm boiling.

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?

I need answers.

I'm steamed.


Unknown said...

This story has similar notes to that as Juneteenth I just read on your blog. The human rights of the vulnerable, certainly not voiceless, were overlooked until individuals with seemingly more power spoke on their behalf. The story is the same, hopefully society’s recognition of the modern structures that perpetuate these kinds of stories will one day resonate.

Roger C. said...

It could be a whole lot more innocent.

When they got there the first time, he could have been conscious enough to refuse treatment.

Larry James said...

But it wasn't, Roger. My friends said they took his BP, tried to talk with him and then left. He didn't refuse treatment or transport and they have no explanation. He had been discharged from hospital obviously prematurely and they judged he was ok against the advice of his friends. When they came back, I intervened and they took him. You had to be there. It was lots of stuff, but innocent it was not.

belinda said...

Larry, thank you so much for taking the time to get involved and help this man.

On Life's Path said...

Larry, Thanks for intervening. I admit, I don't wish to be accusatory toward Roger, but I grow weary of folks presuming that it just couldn't be that bad. That there must be extenuating circumstances.Or worse, that it must somehow be the victims fault. There are gross inequalities built into the fabric of our society.

Anonymous said...

Aw, you could of been a good Samaritan. Instead you were just a good democrat.