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Homeless man sues Glendale hospital, alleges patient dumping

A mentally-ill homeless man who was hospitalized after a suicide attempt is suing Glendale Adventist Medical Center after being allegedly discharged from the hospital against his will and dumped on Skid Row.

Rafaeli Apollinaire, 43, is seeking unspecified damages based on claims of neglect of a dependent adult, infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment.

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Last year, the plaintiff survived a hanging attempt and was taken to Glendale Adventist after his mother called the police, according to the complaint.

Apollinaire stayed as an inpatient for two weeks before he was released on June 6 and taken away in a taxi cab, the document states.

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“At the time of his discharge, Mr. Apollinaire was psychiatrically unstable, suicidal and depressed. Despite repeated requests, [the] defendant refused to tell Mr. Apollinaire where it intended to take him,” according to the complaint. “Instead, GAMC compelled Mr. Apollinaire to enter into a taxi cab that transported him to an undisclosed location against his will.”

Alicia Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said in a statement that the facts in the lawsuit are inaccurate, but added that she couldn’t discuss specifics because of the pending litigation.

“We are confident that the facts of this case will come to light through the due course of litigation,” according to her statement. “Glendale Adventist has always been deeply committed to providing appropriate discharge options to all of our patients, and we have been working closely with the city of Los Angeles to further align with their specific protocols surrounding the discharge of homeless patients.”

In 2014, the hospital paid $700,000 in settlements stemming from patient dumping claims over several years.

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The most recent claim states that despite hospital staff being aware of Apollinaire’s mental state and “intermittent suicidal thoughts,” he was still discharged and taken to Skid Row.

Apollinaire was unfamiliar with the area where he was dropped off, and although he was homeless, he was familiar with Glendale, had friends and family living there and typically slept under a local overpass, his attorney, Michael Kibler, said in a phone interview.

“He slept on the streets of Glendale, but it was home,” Kibler said. “Skid Row was less familiar to him, as to you or me, maybe even less so.”

Apollinaire was dropped off at an intersection in Skid Row and asked for directions until finding his way to the Midnight Mission, the lawsuit states.

Staff at the mission contacted the police who then escorted him to Los Angeles County USC Medical Center for treatment, and he was released two weeks later, according to the complaint.

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