The Los Angeles city attorney's office filed false-imprisonment and dependent-care-endangerment charges against hospital giant Kaiser Permanente on Wednesday, the first criminal prosecution of a medical center accused of "dumping" patients on skid row.
The charges stem from an incident earlier this year when a 63-year-old patient from Kaiser Permanente's Bellflower hospital was videotaped as she left a taxi in gown and socks, and then wandered skid row streets.
In addition to the criminal charges, the city attorney filed a civil lawsuit against Kaiser, using a state law on unfair business practices that city prosecutors usually implement against unscrupulous slumlords to force them to clean up their buildings. The suit seeks a judge's order to forbid all Kaiser medical facilities from dumping homeless patients on skid row or impose financial sanctions if it violates the order.
Kaiser is one of 10 area hospitals under investigation by city prosecutors for allegedly discharging patients to the 50-block area of downtown that is known for missions and homeless encampments. City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo said Wednesday that the Kaiser case was a first step in holding hospitals accountable for dumping.
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