Jan 12, 2018, 9:16 AM ET

Patient left at Baltimore bus stop received 'appropriate medical care,' hospital says


The hospital that left a patient at a Baltimore bus stop Tuesday night now says the facility "provided appropriate medical care for the woman."

In a video that quickly went viral, the unidentified woman — clad in a hospital gown, socks and a dangling surgical mask — appears to stumble and moan after hospital workers deposit her near an outdoor bus station in frigid weather.

"We believe when the patient was in our ER, the patient’s healthcare needs were addressed appropriately," University of Maryland Medical Center President Dr. Mohan Suntha, said at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

PHOTO: Dr. Mohan Suntha president and CEO of University of Maryland Medical Center address a press conference on Jan, 11, 2018.WABC
Dr. Mohan Suntha president and CEO of University of Maryland Medical Center address a press conference on Jan, 11, 2018.

Suntha also said the workers failed to demonstrate "compassion" during the discharge process.

“We take full responsibility for this failure,” Suntha said and added that the hospital did not provide “basic humanity and compassion.”

The man who filmed the video begs to differ.

"I was mad as hell" at the hospital, Imamu Baraka told ABC News.

PHOTO: An image taken from video provided by Imamu Baraka shows a woman discharged from a Baltimore hospital at a bus stop wearing only a gown and socks on a cold winters nigh, Jan. 9, 2018.Imamu Baraka via AP
An image taken from video provided by Imamu Baraka shows a woman discharged from a Baltimore hospital at a bus stop wearing only a gown and socks on a cold winter's nigh, Jan. 9, 2018.

He says he confronted hospital workers after he noticed the woman's strange behavior and worried she might stagger into the street.

"So you all are okay with leaving that woman out there like that?" he asks in the video, as the workers drag an empty wheelchair back inside the building. "That is not okay."

"I don't know what they were thinking," he told ABC News.

When Baraka called 911, an ambulance arrived — only to transport the woman back to the hospital from which she had been discharged moments earlier.

"She just came out of this hospital and was abandoned here on the curb. You're going to take her back? What do you think they're going to do with her if they set her out on the curb the first time?" he told ABC News. "They could have handled this a lot better."

PHOTO: An image taken from video provided by Imamu Baraka shows a woman discharged from a Baltimore hospital at a bus stop wearing only a gown and socks on a cold winters night, Jan. 9, 2018.Imamu Baraka via AP
An image taken from video provided by Imamu Baraka shows a woman discharged from a Baltimore hospital at a bus stop wearing only a gown and socks on a cold winter's night, Jan. 9, 2018.

The hospital has fought back against criticism that the woman was denied care based on her inability to pay.

Federal law forbids "patient dumping," requiring emergency rooms to "stabilize" patients before releasing them, regardless of their ability to pay their medical bills. Violators face fines of up to $50,000 per incident and the possible termination of their Medicare agreement.

A 2016 study based on data provided by the Department of Health and Human Services' Inspector General found 192 so-called "dumping" settlements, totaling $6,357,000, over a 13 year period.

"That is not what occurred" in this case, Suntha told reporters, adding that the incident was an "aberration."

The hospital has pledged to hold the individuals involved accountable for the incident and promised to interview everyone who interacted with the patient — including the hospital workers shown in the video.

ABC News' Sarah Shales and Dennis Powell contributed to this report.

News - Patient left at Baltimore bus stop received 'appropriate medical care,' hospital says

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  • M Bea

    Sorry to say this, but healthcare is a business and no business likes to eat costs. I really doubt this type of behavior (dumping patients) began and ended with the lower level clinical workers who dumped this woman. They surely got instructions from higher ups. It won't be written in policy manuals, but it will be taught as the way we do things. So, it's not really fair to blame the workers who were caught, you need to go higher up the food chain to place blame. It has been noted here or elsewhere that this woman had stopped taking her psychiatric medications and so was discharged from her group home (where she lived since the age of 18) for non-compliance. Group homes have rules that need to be followed, or you can't stay. Is this the fault of the group home?
    I suspect her behavior was difficult while in the ER, her clothing was likely soiled (dirty, urine or feces). Do people expect the ER staff to do laundry on top of everything else? I'm not out to blame the hospital workers, it's the system that's wrong. This is what you get when this country has decided healthcare needs to be a business. There should be universal healthcare in this country, then this type of would be much less likely to happen. But we would rather have an everybody for themselves, and spend way too much money on the military and low, low taxes for the very wealthy. If the citizens of this country don't want universal healthcare, this is what you get. Stop blaming the health industry for not meeting everyone's needs. If you want better healthcare for all, then we need to pay for it and start universal healthcare.

  • John Barron

    Is this what our country is coming to? :(
    Richest nation going and we cannot take care of our own least fortunate. :(

  • Tom Adams

    I'm certain that those security guards will be punished, but I doubt anything will happen to the administrators that are really responsible.

  • David Aaron

    There are quite a few things the hospital could have done:

    1) Held her over for a 48hr involuntary psychiatric hold. She is obviously not in her right frame of mind or coherent to give proper responses to her state of mind or health.

    2) Called the police. If the hospital staff felt that she was a danger to herself or others, calling the police would have been an option

    3) Put her in the waiting room if she was discharged.

    Now the hospital and its staff will more than likely be facing negligence charges as they literally put someone unclothed out into the streets with no regard to her welfare or safety. In addition I'm sure that woman's mother will more than likely sue the hospital on behalf of her daughter since her daughter lacks the mental capacity to do it herself.

  • katerant

    What kind of s***hole country allows a thing like this to happen.

  • Maria Ansari

    those hospital workers who left her outside are only going to get in trouble for getting caught and when that Dr. Muntha said this was the first time this has happened? lol, yeah right! I am sure this has not been the first time this has happened. I hope they get sued!

  • Bronx

    This is a very believable story to me. Something very similar happened to my mom when she was in her 80s. She had passed out and vomitted
    all over her clothing. She was taken by an ambulance to an ER where she was treated, but her clothing was discarded.

    At 2 AM they wanted her to go home, to leave. All she had was a hospital paper gown.

    My mom's situation differed in that her sister in-law arrived at the hospital. SIL offered to pay for them to keep her till morning so she
    could go get her some clothes. The hospital refused. They insisted she had to leave. So in paper gown my still sick mom
    was taken to her SIL's car. Fortunately it was still summer. If my aunt had not arrived those morons would have done the same thing.

    Different hospital, different location by far, and slightly better circumstance for the patient, but the moronic fools are the same.

    Mom could have been and should have been admitted given her age and what brought her to the hospital, and they certainly could have found
    a place for her to stay till morning at which time my aunt would have gone down the block and bought some clothing for my mother.

    Frankly, though these stories hit the newspaper rarely, I think they are more common than anyone wants to admit.

    Part of the problem may be an entanglement with Medicare rules that forbid unneeded admission plus Medicare rules that
    forbid direct payment for care. If not for the latter my aunt had been ready to write a check for them to keep mom till morning.
    Her offer was spurned.

  • Fakname

    These of you that criticize have obviously never worked in the emergency medical field! It’s called an Emergency Room for a Reason, but it’s become a home healthcare and yes mental healthcare catch all! The same people abuse the system over and over and over..........., the majority of ER visits are anything but an emergency! Guess what, on top of it you and I get to pay for the abuse through medicade, increased insurance premiums, and outrageous medical costs! It’s time for ER to mean that! It’s not a baby sitting facility.

  • Cliff Rivers

    There appears to be something that indicates this was staged. Can you find it?

  • bgolds

    I thought poor people and immigrants got free housing, healthcare, cars, computers and the whole bit!

    I was told they just sat at home and cashed government checks.

    Is that not true? This video has me reevaluating my idiotic, simple-minded stereotypes.

    'muttonchops', help me out here.

    You're probably one of those people who believes all of that stuff. Why isn't she getting all sorts of free stuff with my tax dollars?

  • Dicazi

    Shen and shid!!!!!!
    Those workers need to be fired along with whoever told them to do that!
    And criminally charged.
    I'm certain she didn't come into the hospital with a gown on.
    Where were her clothes?
    Money or a bus token? No pockets in a hospital gown.
    Huge lawsuit and heads need to roll.

  • Siestasis42

    On another site the mother of this girl states she is trying to get legal guardianship since her daughter is mentally ill. She also states she called the hospital to find out where her dgtr is and is she receiving treatment and they supposedly either hung up or laughed at her. She needs to hire and attorney double quick then I bet there will be no laughter and answers will be forthcoming. It is obvious that this hospital is trying to put a spin on very bad behavior and in my experience that bad behavior comes from the top down.

  • Prophet With Honor

    No amount of spin can sanitize this. Incredible!

  • Dodadnules

    I think what happened to this lady is atrocious and the hospital's response to the issue only confirms the incredible arrogance and profit focus of the medical industry in general.

    That said, can you even imagine how this would have lit up in the media had the security personnel and hospital spokesperson been Caucasian?

  • Honest Rod

    Part of Making America White again, she dies, one less black or brown person

  • Tim

    The video definitely does not tell the whole story. We don't know the behavior of the woman when she was in the ED. She may have been refusing to leave the ED and refusing to get dressed, in which case security would have no choice but to remove her from the property. Patients can be manipulative and fake things to try to get admitted. I'm not saying this is necessarily what happened in this situation, but any time someone has to be escorted from the property by security there is likely more to the story than the first read. As an RN in a busy city ED, I can say from experience that the ED is relied upon to be care management for patients because of noncompliance or failures of other system members.

  • Billy Bob Smith

    Why hasn't anyone offered up an explanation as to why they put her out on the street in a hospital gown? I can say with 100% certainty that she did not arrive at the hospital in a hospital gown. Where are her clothes? Why wouldn't they allow her to put her clothes back on? A lot of questions remain unanswered.

  • DM Strelczyk

    As a former security officer and Special Police Officer at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, I WOULD NEVER have placed her outside in that kind of weather. I would have placed her in the waiting area where it was warm, even offered her something to eat/drink. I would have gotten a bus token from the Charge Nurse and placed her on the bus when it arrived.

  • KJ

    The hospital was criminally negligent in dumping this woman out into the cold dressed in an open gown and hospital slippers. On Ice. After her large settlement, she'll be able to afford care...

  • Thud2

    This is an outrage. That whole administration needs to be arrested for abuse. I can't believe those guards abandoned her that way. They are definitely not humans and should not be treated as such. NONE of them are human.

  • Wil Rodriguez

    I wonder if she was white would she be on the street. The Country has become bastion of hate. No one cares about anyone and it starts at the White House.

  • darbytwo

    The difficulty in a case like this is that the womans needs may not have been primarily medical. What tools do they have when a person is brought to them who needs clothes, housing, food, and advocacy? The way they handled this was obviously wrong, but the solutions we need are more comprehensive.

  • Lilium Inter Spinas

    I'd like to know what happened to her head and why that injury appears to be untreated in any way.

  • Jeffrey Madruga

    Several issues are* CRYSTAL CLEAR* within a single minute of seeing this "dumped" incoherent patient video and the subsequent craven video statement by the University of Maryland Medical Center President Dr. Mohan Suntha:
    1. UMMC President Dr. Mohan Suntha needs to be *FIRED* immediately, without pay or a severance package, and criminally charged for abuse and willful indifference to injurious behavior.
    2. All four hospital "security" guards, their shift supervisor, that supervisor's boss, and whoever signed off in the ER for this patient to be taken out into the street,
    unsupervised, and nearly undressed on a 37 F degree night; need to be *FIRED* immediately, and with the other provisions as above.
    There are several smaller "side issues" we can all talk about and plenty of blame to share, but when a person is obviously ill, incoherent, injured, and as helpless as a child, then they clearly DESERVE TO BE TREATED AND PROTECTED *LIKE A CHILD*!!! If this freezing, incoherent, half-dressed, staggering, obviously distraught adult lady with the (undressed) walnut-sized swollen bruise in the middle of her forehead was, instead, a lost toddler in the same condition, would *ANYONE* think it "okay" or "normal"?!? Or a senior citizen with dementia like a grandmother or a disadvantaged friend with Downs Syndrome?!? There is absolutely *NO* damn "grey area" here, at all, so let's please quit allowing this fraud of pretending to act like a "professional" hospital (?!), administrators (?!), caregivers ?!), or any kind of supposed healthcare providers (?!), or Security (?!). This was/is a multi-faceted TRAVESTY, ethically barbaric, cravenly and casually handled in a way only concerned with not to disturb the clearly inadequate status quo for the benefit of the lazy, criminal, and wholly irresponsible. Let us all not just stand around now, but instead *DO SOMETHING*!!! I, for one, want to know (1) the current condition and whereabouts of the patient, and (2) to hear that all the above people named or referred to have been *FIRED* before the end of the working day..., *TODAY*!!! Clear out your desks, you frauds! Get OUT!

  • Middle

    "Federal law forbids "patient dumping," requiring emergency rooms to "stabilize" patients before releasing them, regardless of their ability to pay their medical bills. Violators face fines of up to $50,000 per incident and the possible termination of their Medicare agreement."

    Punish the hospital to the full extent. Charge the people who dumped her with whatever crime you can and prosecute them as well. And don't allow Trump to see this video or he'll want a law requiring all hospitals to treat people this way.

  • terry bigler

    for myself i will fnd which medical system runs this unit and never use them or any of their associated sites,and i can well pay for anything,,i suggest pulling both their charter and the association that they represent's charters