........more likely, it is our own Black community that is disgraceful.....
LA's Failing Black Hospital Shunned As "Killer King"
Posted on: 2004-12-07 16:57:42
Once a focus of black pride in South Central Los Angeles, the Martin Luther King, Jr./Drew Medical Center has, according to a devastating five-part expose in the Los Angeles Times, "a long history of harming, or even killing, those it was meant to serve." The Times series details one fatality after another due to misdiagnosis or other medical error at the black-run hospital; notes that K/D Medical Center is routinely ranked as one of the worst in the state and the nation; and observes that "Entire departments are riddled with incompetence, internal strife, and in some case, criminality." The problem isn't the hospital's funding, according to the Times, "but the way the money is squandered": on treatment costs per patient that exceed those of all other public hospitals in Los Angeles, on swollen salaries for its overpaid, underperforming physicians, on high expenditures for overtime pay and alleged on-the-job injuries for a staff in which loafing and absenteeism are rife, and on huge awards for malpractice. As the series notes, the hospital's largely black administration has routinely stonewalled patients' and physicians' complaints, while nearly every attempt to reform King/Drew by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which governs it, has been derailed "by community anger and accusations of racism." After over thirty years of African-American administration and operation, what began as the "embodiment of dreams for racial self-determination" is now known, according to the Times, to the blacks it was established to serve as "Killer King," its reputation so feared that patients are known to flee ambulances to avoid being delivered there and police reported to have a mutual understanding that wounded officers will be taken anywhere but King/Drew. That the situation at the hospital is critical has been known for some time (see "King/Drew Hospital...," TOH, Jan. 30, 2004); if and when King/Drew Medical Center flat-lines, the Los Angeles Times investigation makes clear, the last persons responsible will be white "racists."