An unidentified elderly Black man was found on a sidewalk in Conyers, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, with medical tubes still attached after being discharged from a hospital nearby because Medicare would not continue coverage for his treatment.
The 68-year-old man was discovered collapsed near the Piedmont Rockdale Hospital on Thursday, Oct. 14. According to a 911 caller, he appeared unresponsive and in need of medical assistance.
“Poor guy. But he probably needs an ambulance and not…” the 911 caller said, according to WSB-TV. “It’s right in front of the Piedmont Rockdale Emergency entrance.”
Conyers Police Deputy Chief Scott Freeman told reporters that, according to a hospital employee, the man was in the hospital’s care for 35 days for unidentified treatment and was cleared as “fit to leave” by two doctors when the hospital was notified that Medicare would not continue paying for his care.
He was dressed by security, who then escorted him off the premises.
When medical responders arrived to treat the man after the 911 call, he was found to have “sepsis, a high heart rate, fever, a urinary tract infection, and a possible bladder infection.”
“Common sense dictates that you do not treat human beings the way that we’re seeing in this particular case,” said Freeman, who plans on filing a report on the incident with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
“This man is laying out on the sidewalk unresponsive, and this is how they brought him out,” he stated. “They escorted him off the property and just left him on the sidewalk. This is inhumane; this is not who we are as a city, as a county, or even as a country. Or at least it shouldn’t be.”
At the time of this writing, Medicare had not prepared a statement.
Piedmont Healthcare addressed the incident, insinuating that the patient did not want continued services, saying that while they “do their best to connect patients in need” with “appropriate after-hospital care,” whether or not the services are accepted is “at the discretion of the patient.”
“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. 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.”
No further updates have been given on the patient’s condition, however, he was taken back to the emergency room the same day he was released.