In Baltimore, a woman patient in her hospital gown was escorted outside the emergency unit of the University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus by four security men on Tuesday night and left stranded without any help in the vicinity.
She appeared to be disoriented and unable to communicate when one Imamu Baraka, a medical student of the university who was passing-by was visibly shaken to see the apathy of the hospital staff. He tried to help her out and also took a video of the incident that was posted later on Facebook, just to go viral predictably.
Baraka wrote in his post that he just witnessed the incident and had no choice but to give the woman a voice at the sordid situation she was left behind. Being a medical student, he said he wanted to remind the other staff members of the University medical center of their duty and motto.
"I just witnessed this with my own eyes. I had no choice but to give this young lady a voice in this moment. University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus (UMMC) as a Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA) student -- may I remind you of the importance of the VISION of your MEDICAL CENTER: UMMC will be known for providing high value and compassionate care, improving health in Maryland and beyond, educating future health care leaders and discovering innovative ways to advance medicine worldwide."
He concluded his Facebook post exhorting the staff, "You can do better. You must do better." Within hours the video had gone viral that it reached more than 500,000 viewers and was shared thousands of times on social media. As the woman's apathy took center-stage, came the reply from the hospital. It denied that the incident was representative of the hospital's patient-centered mission.
"We share the shock and disappointment of many who have viewed the video showing the discharge of a patient from the Emergency Department of UMMC Midtown the night of January 9. This unfortunate event is not representative of our patient-centered mission," it said in a statement.
However, the hospital did not give any explanation to the allegation that the patient was left stranded outside helpless and shelter-less that too on a midnight in the winter.
It apologized for the incident saying, "While there are many circumstances of this patient's case that we cannot address publicly, in the end, we clearly failed to fulfill our mission with this patient, no matter the circumstances of her case or the quality of the clinical care we provided in the hospital (which is not depicted in the video)."
The hospital vowed to take up the matter seriously and probe the circumstances which might have led to the situation. The hospital is also keen to take action on its staff who might have caused the midnight expulsion of the patient. "We are taking this matter very seriously, conducting a thorough review, and are evaluating the appropriate response, including the possibility of personnel action," it said in its response.