In some ways, the entire philosophy behind the creation of King/Drew is to blame. The facility was organized as a minority run hospital; it should have been organized as a hospital, dedicated to the care of the people it serves, staffed by the best and brightest talent it could find, insisting upon the highest standards of excellence.
Hospitals should not be about the racial composition of the staff; they should be about healing and medical care. It is a question of the purpose of the institution, and until this fundamental change in philosophy occurs, the hospital has no chance of improvement.
All medical professionals should have to meet the same high standards. Until we as a society (and South L.A. as a community) are wiling to judge -- and hire -- people exclusively by what they do, and not by the color of their skin, we have all failed in the dream of the Hospital's namesake, Dr. Martin Luther King.
Tracy Weber, Charles Ornstein and Mitchell Landsberg and all those involved in this series disclosing the horror of this so-called "public" "hospital", deserve the highest kudos and praise for a job well done. Outstanding Job. And thanks too to the Los Angeles Times for having the courage and resources to permit this investigation and publish it for the benefit of all citizens of the United States. After all, any one of us could be on vacation to Los Angeles and have the misfortune of being unwittingly transmitted to this anti-hospital, to be killed or permanently disabled for life!
I grew up in Sierra Madre and attended public school in California. My late Father used to say: "California is the kook capital of the world." This series of investigative reports shows the Los Angeles County Supervisors to be no better than common criminals, as are all those involved in this cesspool called a "hospital."
The medical licensing boards in California are known for their gestapo tactics on certain out of favor medical doctors who deviate one iota from the norms of the medical orthodoxy, yet they sit idly by, along with the state attorney general and U. S. attorney general, and do nothing about this public disgrace, which should be boarded up and shut down immediately.
There should now be a grand public trial, like the Nazi war crimes trials, and everyone involved in this disgusting outrage, for which words of polite society are inadequate to describe, should be criminally charged and prosecuted as was the lowly Martha Stewart, whose "crimes" are like taking candy from a baby in comparison.
But I won't hold my breath until any such action takes place. This is political correctness run amok. All the permitting of this outrage to continue is to provide fodder to those who claim blacks are really inferior after all. Why they even kill or disable their own!
Winfield J. Abbe, Ph.D., Physics
University of California, 1966
When people are told to straighten up and fly right, they often find any and every excuse not to. Staff at King/Drew is using the political race card in order not to take care of business. Because change is a difficult thing, it has to be implemented very methodically. Fortunately, we have the example of two county hospitals that appear to be thriving. It's no major secret on how to do it. Look at LAC-USC (older facilities than King/Drew) and see how the administration runs that hospital.
1) Run King/Drew like a private hospital. Private hospital administrators know that privately insured patients have options. Much emphasis is placed on customer service and positive feedback from patients. King/Drew staff knows that patients do not have any other options besides the county-run facility.
2) Chronic absenteeism and tardiness cannot and will not be tolerated. The civil service system is in place to protect the employee, but if used effectively, can protect the employer.
3) Require that all staff complete their required number of Educational Hours as required by their professional Boards. The hospital must also offer mandatory ongoing training for doctors and allied health staff (i.e. Cultural Diversity, Violence in the Workplace, Customer Service, etc.)
4) Do background checks of prospective employees.
5) The county coffers can no longer be deep pockets for shoddy work. Model the system of other large county facilities that make employees responsible for blatant errors. Make people accountable for their own work.
5a) Reward staff with small tokens. (ice cream parties, free cafeteria lunch, Gift certificate to the KFC across the street, etc.)
6) Get rid of all this nepotism, favoritism, and all the other ..ism's.
7) Hire competent staff to run the departments.
8) Make the atmosphere more professional. Get rid of all the " vendors." Only official business can be conducted within the hospital.
Thank you for reading my reforms. I am not an expert, but I know how to treat others and how I'd like to be treated.
Shaunda Allen, R.N.
I have known of that hospital by its nickname of Killer King. It is in a rap song, etc.
I think people would have a better chance of survival by traveling to a different hospital. Why have a hospital 1 block away that is going to kill or damage you? I would rather drive several miles for better health care. King has had its chances to make things better.
It is very clear: They Can't!!!
Your stories are fine journalism. Ruffled a few feathers, but you have to report the truth.
Keep up the great work!!
This series was cutting-edge journalism. Hats off to the writers and the journalists because their work is excellent.
Now for the substance of the articles. I am an African-American graduate student who lives in Inglewood and is very concerned about the resources that have been ebbing from minority communities. Solid middle-class families, high-end shopping and high-value homes have not bee a solid part of these neighborhoods. Hence, I should be concerned that there have been plans to move yet another valuable community resource from a minority area. However, for the sake of the lives of the poor folks who live in the Watts area, I think that the hospital should be taken over by federal authorities or should be shut down. There comes a point where we must understand that all life is valuable and must not sacrifice it (the lives of the folks that live in the Watts area) for silly notions of racist bureaucracy and white folks out to do harm to minorities. I am convinced that in order to properly serve a needy community, health providers need to be competent. So, since we have a cancer in the system, we must cut it out before it kills the whole body.
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