Police in Georgia criticized a hospital that they said released a patient Thursday who was found unresponsive on the ground outside about an hour later.
The police department in Conyers, Georgia, said that the man, who appeared to be in his 60s, was released from Piedmont Rockdale Hospital around 10 a.m. Thursday and later discovered lying on the sidewalk, according to the Rockdale Citizen.
When EMTs arrived, police said they found the man had sepsis, a fever, a urinary tract infection, and a possible bladder infection. He was returned to the hospital, according to the newspaper.
“This man is laying out on the sidewalk unresponsive, and this is how they brought him out,” said Conyers Deputy Chief of Police Scott Freeman.
“They escorted him off the property and just left him on the sidewalk. This is inhumane; this is not who we are as city, as a county, or even as a country. Or at least it shouldn’t be,” Freeman added.
He said that hospital security had asked the police to stand by when they removed the patient. Conyers police did not respond, said the deputy chief, because “that is not a police function to remove patients from a hospital.” They later received a call about the man on the sidewalk from a passerby, according to the Rockdale Citizen.
“Apparently his Medicare would not pay for additional treatment and they made the decision that they were going to remove him from the hospital. There was no indication that he was giving them any problem, being violent, hostile, or belligerent in anyway,” Freeman said, according to CBS 46.
The news station reported that Freeman plans on filing a complaint with the state’s Department of Community Health regarding the incident.
“I think that someone who is a regulatory body needs to take a look inside and see what’s going on inside this hospital, before someone is put out on to the sidewalk, and the police aren’t there to save them,” he said.
In a statement to Newsweek about the incident, Piedmont Healthcare said:
“At Piedmont, our purpose is to make a positive difference in every life we touch.”
“We can only provide the best care with the cooperation and consent of the patient. Unfortunately, it’s too common for hospitals and communities across the country to take care of patients who have nowhere to go, or no one to help them, upon release from the hospital. We do our best to connect patients in need with community partners and social service organizations to provide appropriate after-hospital care, but ultimately accepting these services is at the discretion of the patient.”