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Oregon Hospitals Abuse the Homeless (UPDATE)Bonnie King Salem-News.com
Booting homeless sick American mothers into the street; welcome to Oregon.
(SALEM, Ore.) - UPDATE: June 29 2010 - We learned shortly before 10:00 a.m. that in spite of her condition, and the fact that she needs serious attention and ongoing medical care, Amber Morales is being discharged from the Salem Hospital and placed in an 'outpatient status' where this homeless woman must subsist on the streets.
We also know that the Emergency Room at Salem Hospital completely misinterpreted Amber's condition initially, in spite of the fact that it had been explained at length. The emergency triage nurse was provided every detail of Amber's recent gall bladder surgery, but she noted that Amber Morales was suffering from "a stab wound" which was completely erroneous. This false statement of information was available for hospital staff to see; we are not sure if there is a direct connection with the treatment and regard that she is receiving.
Appreciate this as the way Salem Hospital conducts business; it is the same story all over the state, it is all about money, and has zero to do with actual patient care. I suspect that the hospital might consider this liability, as a spotlight shines on this particular case which is shameful in nature, but the decision to put her on the streets was nonetheless reached.
In this event there is no question that the hospital is aware of her unique status, the fact that she has been rejected repeatedly by similar facilities. Salem Hospital agreed to help, they summoned a social worker who had absolutely nothing to offer. This is a representative of Oregon Human Services, the agency charged with the public's welfare. They contacted a religious group to possibly take Amber in, but that group insists that she has her small child who she is incapable of caring for
A homeless person with a young child has almost no chance of being properly assisted in Oregon's hospitals. We are following the story of Amber Morales, a young indigent woman who was born to a mother addicted to heroin, kicking off her challenging life.
In the last ten days, hospitals and medical care facilities one after another in Salem, Newberg, McMinnville and even OHSU in Portland, have sent this extremely ill woman back to the streets, fully aware that she has nowhere to turn for care or support, and that she is extremely sick, in an undiagnosed status.
There is a common belief in this nation that all people have the same opportunity, but if you examine Morales' saga, it is clearly not true. People born to drug addicts are compromised. Their health is not comparable with others. They don't have a level footing in life. But all Amber is asking for is a chance- to get well.
Salem Hospital admitted Amber Morales with an abscess; likely a result of botched hurry up and rush Gallbladder surgery at McMinnville's hospital over a week earlier. Amber Morales has the most unnatural sore protruding from her stomach; extending several inches outward when she laid down, and she has been in extreme pain without relief.
An abscess is a localized collection of pus that generally develops in response to infection, terribly painful, and unlike other infections, antibiotics alone will not cure an abscess. In general, abscesses must open and drain to improve. That sounds like a good thing for a hospital to provide.
We saw Amber and are familiar with the extreme nature of her illness. Ironically, she at times appears to bear a complexion that matches her name. She is very sick.
Dr. Phil Leveque, Salem-News.com writer, was consulted over this strange condition that seemed to become worse with each 'treatment' she received in the aforementioned hospitals. Dr. Leveque no longer practices medicine, but a description of Amber's condition caused him to instantly suggest that she was transported back to the hospital.
"Has it been over 12 hours?" he asked.
"Because she has gangrene in her abdomen," Dr. Leveque said.
This is the young mother who was quickly discharged from McMinnville Hospital, Newberg Hospital and Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, all with the full knowledge that she had no where to go, and therefore would be receiving no "care". Her child is with family, but the woman can find no reprieve- and little compassion.
On Friday she was admitted to the Salem Hospital, and given emergency surgery to remove infection, inserting a drain. Still with a undetermined explanation as to why the abscess exists, she has been told that she will need daily care for two weeks or more. Outpatient care. Even Salem Hospital is not able to maintain a patient that is seemingly deathly ill, until she is well.
The cost of treating the uninsured really mounts up when the job has to be repeated. And repeated.
Salem Hospital social services have offered to "try to find a bed" for Morales in a homeless shelter as a replacement for the hospital staff.
Salem Hospital has announced as of this afternoon, that it will discharge this woman- though they have been made fully aware that she has nowhere to go.
Salem Hospital stated shortly after 2:00 p.m., that Amber Morales will be in the hospital for at least another night, according to the hospital's Julie Howard.
Howard told Salem-News.com: "The hospital's policy is to not discharge someone until their medical needs are met. Amber's doctor did not recommend that she be discharged."
She says a doctor determines when a patient is well enough "to be on the street", even if they can't find a shelter.
Amber's case will be determined on a day to day basis, but she may be faced with finding her own bed as soon as tomorrow.
Bonnie King has been with Salem-News.com since August '04, when she became Publisher. Bonnie has served in a number of positions in the broadcast industry; TV Production Manager at KVWB (Las Vegas WB) and Producer/Director for the TV series "Hot Wheels in Las Vegas", posts as TV Promotion Director for KYMA (NBC), and KFBT (Ind.), Asst. Marketing Director (SUPERSHOPPER MAGAZINE), Director/Co-Host (Coast Entertainment Show), Radio Promotion Director (KBCH/KCRF), and Newspapers In Education/Circulation Sales Manager (STATESMAN JOURNAL NEWSPAPER). Bonnie has a depth of understanding that reaches further than just behind the scenes, and that thoroughness is demonstrated in the perseverance to correctly present each story with the wit and wisdom necessary to compel and captivate viewers. View articles written by Bonnie King
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