Arizona hospital accused of dumping patient in park without treatment

A 33-year-old quadriplegic patient was allegedly dumped out of a wheelchair outside of Phoenix-based Valleywise Health's Maryvale campus without receiving treatment on June 14, Fox 10 Phoenix reported July 27.

The patient was taken to the hospital by an ambulance due to "issues with his catheter." 

"A doctor came," the patient told Fox Phoenix. "They looked at me, they wrote down my name, they wrote down all my information. They gave me a shot, and then they said 'alright come on. Let's go. Let's get out of here.'"

He said he was waiting when three security guards approached and asked him for his information. He said he was unable to provide it because he suffers from a brain injury, and he was in a lot of pain and felt dizzy. The security guards then allegedly pushed his wheelchair outside and left him on the ground in a park in the summer heat, according to the report.

A homeless man living in the park saw the patient and allowed him to use his phone to call his mother. She allegedly found him laying half-naked on the ground and called 911 to have paramedics take him to another hospital. The patient suffered severe swelling and blistering from ants, according to the report. He was admitted for six days and underwent surgery for his original catheter issue.

Phoenix police are investigating the alleged incident. According to police paperwork obtained by the news outlet, hospital staff claimed the patient "refused treatment, got into a non-motorized wheelchair and left the hospital alone."

The paperwork stated that the wheelchair had a safety lever on the back that had to be deactivated by the person pushing the chair and that "the probability of the patient operating the wheelchair alone was highly unlikely," not including the fact that he is quadriplegic. The report also indicated the chair was nowhere to be seen when the mother or paramedics arrived, suggesting it was brought back into the hospital.

The police said they will turn their finished reports over to the Arizona attorney general for review and they notified adult protective services and the Arizona Department of Health.

In a statement, officials at Valleywise said:

"While we cannot discuss individual patient cases due to patient privacy rules (HIPAA), Valleywise Health remains committed to providing exceptional care, every patient, every time. In the event an issue arises that's not in line with our mission, we take steps to improve outcomes for all patients and modify any policies or procedures to ensure safe and top quality care."

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