Skid Row. Photo by Jorobeq/CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
Skid Row. Photo by Jorobeq/CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

A man who alleges he was dumped on Skid Row after being discharged from Glendale Adventist Medical Center, despite being mentally ill and having attempted suicide, is suing the hospital.

Rafaeli Apollinaire is seeking unspecified damages on allegations of elder abuse and neglect, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and false imprisonment.

“At bottom, GAMC engaged in a cursory discharge planning process, disregarded Mr. Apollinaire’s particular needs and requests and ultimately dumped him in a dangerous, alien neighborhood without any medication and while he still needed medical care,” the suit alleges.

Glendale Adventist spokeswoman Alicia Gonzalez issued a statement saying patient privacy issues prevent the hospital from providing details “surrounding patient medical care or discharge, and it is against our policy to comment on pending litigation.”

“We are confident that the facts of this case will come to light through the due course of litigation,” the statement says. “Glendale Adventist has always been deeply committed to providing appropriate discharge options to all our patients and we have been working closely with the city of Los Angeles to further align with their specific protocols surrounding the discharge of homeless patients.”

Last August, Glendale Adventist agreed to pay $700,000 in civil penalties to settle a lawsuit by the city of Los Angeles alleging the hospital dumped a homeless patient on skid row. The patient was not identified in court papers, but Gonzalez confirmed it was Apollinaire.

According to the lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the 43-year-old plaintiff has a history of mental illness and in early 2014 was homeless and living under a bridge near the Los Angeles River in Glendale.

In May 2014, he had an argument with his mother and tried to hang himself, the suit states. She called police and he was admitted to Glendale Adventist and classified as a danger to himself and others, according to the complaint.

Although a Glendale Adventist psychiatrist diagnosed him with major depression and “suicidal ideation,” the doctor, the case worker and a nurse decided to discharge Apollinaire about two weeks later, the suit states.

“They made this decision despite the medical records showing that Mr. Apollinaire’s suicidal intentions, on that very same day, were still active,” according to the lawsuit.

Apollinaire requested that he be taken to a shelter in Glendale, but was told by the case worker that he would be taken to downtown Los Angeles, the suit states.

When he asked how he would get back to Glendale if left in Los Angeles, the case worker replied, “You will have to figure that out,” the suit alleges.

The taxi driver who took Apollinaire downtown could not find the shelter he was looking for, so left him on a street corner, according to the suit.

“Lost and alone on Skid Row, Mr. Apollinaire asked strangers for directions to a nearby shelter and ultimately found his way to the Midnight Mission,” the suit states.

The mission’s manager contacted the City Attorney’s Office and Apollinaire was transported to County-USC Medical Center, where he received proper care, and was eventually discharged to a board-and-care home, the suit states.

USC doctors made sure he had 30 days of medications and he was no longer suffering from suicidal tendencies when he was discharged, according to the lawsuit.

—City News Service

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