Police say hospital discharged seriously ill man, left him on the street

CONYERS, Ga. — Police want answers after a local hospital discharged a sick man and left him alone on the sidewalk.

Channel 2′s Mark Winne was in Conyers Friday, where someone called 911 after finding the man collapsed on Milstead Avenue in Conyers, just steps from the hospital.

The man, who is not being identified, still had medical tubes coming out of his body.

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Winne talked to Conyers Police Deputy Chief Scott Freeman, the officer who rescued the man near Piedmont Rockdale Hospital.

“Common sense dictates that you do not treat human beings the way that we’re seeing in this particular case,” Freeman said.

The 911 caller reported that it looked like the man had just come from the hospital and that he was not responsive.

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“Poor guy. But he probably needs an ambulance and not...” the 911 caller says. “It’s right in front of the Piedmont Rockdale Emergency entrance.”

Freeman said the 68-year-old man was discharged from the hospital Thursday. A hospital employee told officers that the man had been at the hospital for 35 days and that Medicare would not continue to pay for his treatment.

The employee said that security dressed the man and walked him out.

Freeman said an officer was told the man was cleared as “fit to leave” by two doctors and the hospital wanted him gone.

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Freeman said that when emergency responders arrived, the man had a fever, signs of sepsis, a urinary tract infection and an elevated heart rate.

“(He was) literally ejected out to the sidewalk with no help whatsoever,” Freeman said. “I think it’s inhumane. He was clearly incoherent. That’s just not how we treat people here in this city or this country.”

The man was loaded into an ambulance and taken straight back to the emergency room.

Piedmont Healthcare said that unfortunately, hospitals find themselves caring for people who can’t get into the kind of facilities that bridge the gap between the hospital and home.

The hospital released a statement, saying:

“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.”

Winne reached to Medicare, which said it was preparing a statement. He also visited an address listed for the patient, but no one was home.