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2005 Pulitzer prize winner - Public Service

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

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2005 Pulitzer prize winner - Public Service

Los Angeles Times reporters Charles Ornstein, Tracy Weber and photographer Robert Gauthier for exposing deadly medical problems and racial injustice at a major public hospital



Albert Johnson, 46., who was admitted for a severe spider bite on his hand, sits outside the hospital for a smoke. "I brought it in a jar, I was sleeping and I felt something biting me."

Sherry Ridley's sisters Gail Gordon, left and Yvette Turner, center, along with her mother Geraldine pause in a moment of grief as they talk about the profound effect her death has had on their family.(

Gail Gordon searches for her sister's (Sherry Ridley) crypt at the Inglewood Cemetery. Located on the top row, more than 10 ft. above the floor, Gordon needed a telescoping rod to place a small bouquet of roses.

A gold medallion bearing the inscribed likeness of her daughter, Dunia and son, Juan, hangs from the neck of Sulma Tesejo. Dunia died at MLK hospital after receiving an overdose of sedatives while being treated for two broken teeth.

Aleta Clemons is taking numerous medications to control the HIV virus and numerous other maladies 10 years after she was mistakenly transfused with aids tainted blood at MLK hospital.

Petra Lamas cries as she remembers her daughter, Patricia Arrellano, who died while being treated at King Drew Hospital.

Angel Ayala is fed through a feeding tube by his mother, Diana at their Hawthorne home.

Filled to capacity, patients wait through much of the afternoon to be seen at the MLK Hospital Ophtomology clinic which has for years been housed in a temporary building near the hospital.

Dr. George Locke greets Congresswoman Maxine Waters as Lillian Mobley looks on inside the halls of MLK hospital. Waters was touring the hospital with community activists to drum up support for a rally to support the troubled neonatal unit.

Less than a year after he was forced out as chairman of the King Drew hospital surgery department a community activist carries on his support of Dr. Fleming during an organizing meeting at a south central church early in 2004.

Dr. Gus Gill, Dr. Harry Douglass and Dr. Marcelle Willock lead a procession at commencement exercices for 300 students at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Willowbrook, Saturday, June 5, 2004.

Soon after falling in love with her boyfriend, Marvin Harrell, Johnnie Mae Williams found out that she was mistakenly diagnosed with and treated for endometrial cancer by King Drew pathologist Dr. Dennis Hooper.

Johnnie Mae Williams caresses her baby grand neice, during a get together with relatives.

Doctors are a swirl of activity at an emergency room station at King Drew hospital in the spring of 2004.

Mario Nelson's family have a difficult time remembering him during a recent interview. Nelson died at MLK hospital after the volume on his vital signs monitor was turned down and no one noticed his fading heartbeat.

Rona Millage cries as she talks about her mother, Robbie Bilbrew who died while being treated at Martin Luther King Hospital. Bilbrew died as nurses were unaware of her worsening condition despite being hooked up to a cardiac monitor.

Patients crowd around the first floor Pharmacy waiting for prescriptions at King Drew hospital in the spring of 2004.

William Watson recovering from menengitis, mistakenly received a cancer drug while admitted at King-Drew hospital, Wednesday, February 25, 2004.

William Watson, a former professional boxer, is blind in his right eye and suffers mild paralysis on the right side of his body weeks after being treated at King-Drew for meningitis. Watson was accidentaly treated with a strong cancer medication, which, he claims, caused severe side efffects, including the blindness.

Lauryn Johnson was born at MLK in june 2000 and suffered developmental delays and a lack of oxygen to her brain because doctors waited too long to perform a C-section on her mother. Her grandmother Flora Collins and mother Tanya Collins look on as Lauryn struggles to complete a puzzle.

Brandon Echeverria, 5, walks only with the assistance of leg braces and a walker due to birth injuries while being delivered at King Drew hospital.

Gladys Russell stands outside the County Hall of Administration along with hundreds of other King Drew hospital employees gathered to protest the Board of Supervisor's decision to close the hospital's trauma unit.

As the board of supervisors discuss closing the King/Drew hospital trauma unit in November 2004, Julia Lee, a self described _activist in the day_ who worked to help bring King/Drew hospital to life in the late 1960ıs, displays a picture showing the late Los Angeles County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

County supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke addresses a crowd of demonstrators outside the hall of administration to discuss the closure of the King Drew hospital trauma center.

King Drew Hospital Dr. Xylina Bean lays into Jeffery Guterman, senior medical director of LA county's Department of Health Services in front of about 200 people gathered in the basement of the Grant AME Church in Watts to rally against cuts at Martin Luther King Hospital, Friday, January 23, 2004.

Twilight looms over Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center as candles from an afternoon vigil melt away in September 2004. The hospital faces an uncertain future after years of failures to effectively resolve festering problems in patient care.