Milwaukee hospital suspends employees for leaving homeless patient in cold

Administrators at Milwaukee-based Aurora Sinai Medical Center suspended an undisclosed number of employees Tuesday after staff discharged a mentally ill homeless man clothed in only a hospital gown and scrub pants on Monday, according to report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

A picture and video of the man surfaced on social media and local television reports earlier this week, depicting the man sitting shoeless on a wet sidewalk outside of the hospital. The individual who took the video said the homeless man was rolled out of the hospital in a wheelchair and left on the sidewalk, Eva Welch, director of the local homeless organization Street Angels Milwaukee Outreach, told the Journal Sentinel.

Ms. Welch also told the newspaper the man was brought to a shelter two weeks prior after receiving treatment for frostbite on his right foot at a different hospital. She said workers with her organization previously witnessed Aurora Sinai's security personnel discharge another homeless person into freezing temperatures two weeks ago.

"They literally rolled him out of the wheelchair onto the sidewalk," Ms. Welch told the Journal Sentinel.

In a statement emailed to Becker's, Tami Kou, director of public affairs for Milwaukee-based Aurora Health Care, said the hospital is conducting an internal investigation of the incident.

"While this is a highly complex case, it is clear that our protocols and values were not followed, and we're deeply troubled by this," Ms. Kou said. "We've set up a task force to help best address these complicated cases and ensure safe discharge planning for vulnerable individuals … We're also re-educating caregivers on our service commitments to treat all patients with dignity and respect. What occurred was contrary to our values, and we're doing everything that we can to make sure it doesn't happen again."

News of patient dumping in Milwaukee follows similar incidents reported in Maryland and California this month.

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