My God, this is horrendous! Stephen Kusisto over at Planet of the Blind has written about a woman with disabilities who died on the waiting room floor at Kings County Hospital Center Psychiatric Emergency Department after being admitted a full 24 hours before her death. The whole scene was caught on the hospital's video cameras and the Associated Press has a clip of it that shows the woman's last few minutes alive.
Esmin Green was the forty-nine year old woman of color who had been admitted to King's County Hospital and, a day later, died there. This woman was in the prime of her life but she was left to die as hospital staff watched her collapse on the floor face-first. They watched her crawl and moan for HOURS and they did nothing to help her. No one even helped her up. There were other people in the waiting room, including hospital security guards, but even they did nothing to help Esmin.
In the video, she can be seen scrawling a message on the floor trying to communicate in some way. God only knows how terrifying it must have been for/to her, knowing that she was in a hospital and watching as people let her die right before their eyes. This is the sort of treatment that they thought she deserved. This is what goes on in psychiatric departments all around the country.
I was once admitted to our public hospital's psychiatric ward. I had a bad reaction when my Prednisone dosage was increased which exacerbated my schizophrenia causing me to have a "break" that lasted several days. As a result, I do not fully remember the first few days of my stay at the hospital. When my symptoms were back under control, I realized that, during those first days, other patients had raided my room and stolen my clothes. Though food was put in front of me, the other patients were allowed to take my food, so no one knew if I had eaten or not. This is how the hospital staff felt I deserved to be treated. Why? Simply because I was a patient there.
The medical examiner's office still hasn't released a cause of death for Esmin Green. It may be that her psychiatric symptoms were signs that something was wrong and she was in need of help...but maybe that's too much to ask of people who are being paid to do just that.