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Hospital, city atty. spar over records

Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles city attorney Wednesday lambasted Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, saying it was deliberately blocking the release of medical records from a paraplegic man who was allegedly “dumped” last week in a skid row gutter.

City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo said in a statement that a prosecutor had met with the victim, obtained his written consent for the release of records and forwarded the document to the hospital.

“In what I can only conclude is an attempt to impede our investigation,” Delgadillo’s statement said, “Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, through its lawyers, has refused to provide my prosecutors with these records.”

Hospital spokesman Dan Springer called the city attorney’s portrayal of events “inaccurate.”

Springer said that hospital officials met with representatives from the city attorney’s office Tuesday and “worked out what we thought was a reasonable solution and procedure to comply with patient confidentiality,” requesting an e-mail for specific verification from witnesses of the patient’s signature.

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“It appears as though rather than send an e-mail, the city attorney has chosen to put out a press release,” Springer said.

The hospital has said that it twice tried to deliver the paraplegic man to the Midnight Mission, which he had listed as his home address on hospital paperwork.

The first time, two hospital workers arrived by ambulance and tried to wheel the man, who was strapped to a gurney, into the mission courtyard.

A mission video showed that they were confronted by security guards, who, according to mission officials, asked about the man’s follow-up care.

The attendants decided to return the man to the hospital; later, a van was tasked to take him back to the mission.

On that attempt, just before 11 a.m., witnesses reported seeing the paraplegic man -- who wore a soiled hospital gown and had a broken colostomy bag and no wheelchair or walker -- prop himself up in the door of the van, then hurl himself from the vehicle, tumbling to the street.

They later told police that the man pulled himself along, dragging a bag of his belongings in his clenched teeth, until they helped rescue him from the gutter.

They said that the van driver ignored their cries for help and instead applied makeup and perfume before speeding off.

Springer said last week that the hospital found the incident “extremely troubling and regrettable. The fact is, we would never condone leaving an individual at a location without his consent.”

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cara.dimassa@latimes.com


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