I have been a proponent and an advocate of Martin Luther King Hospital for years. I have been willing to stand tirelessly up for them in the wake of people calling it “Killer King” and making jokes about the quality of care and the quality of the people who work there. I have heard people swear that no matter how bad off they are or how sick they become they NEVER wanted to be sent to Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital.
I have watched GREAT community leaders like Lillian Mobley dedicate their lives to ensuring that our community has its own hospital. Ms. Mobley who I have known almost my entire life has for years been a board member of the hospital and has worked with other community leaders to ensure that the students of Charles R. Drew Medical School have a place that they could go and learn and ultimately provide the citizens of our community with the best health care possible.
I have personally worked overtime along with our staff here at the Sentinel to make sure that we gave proper coverage to the County Board of Supervisors and the debate over the question “Should King be Closed.” We covered the debates, the rallies, the press conferences and the ultimate decision to transfer control to Harbor General.
But, no matter how hard I have lobbied on behalf of keeping the hospital open, this time I cannot defend the hospital. I cannot stand on the side of the hospital or its staff. In fact the action or lack of action by the staff at the hospital is disgraceful and inhumane. I have seen the video, I have heard the tapes and at this point there is nothing anyone can tell me that can justify how the hospital “murdered” this woman.
The hospital was already in trouble. They knew there accreditation was already on the verge of being pulled. They knew that federal regulators where watching their actions. But still they chose not to do what was right. When the world is waiting for you to fail you have to step up and be better than they want you to be and certainly you have to be better than they expect.
In the end, right is right and wrong is wrong. We can debate all you want why the conditions at the hospital are not right. We can talk about how the state and the federal governments need to do more to provide better healthcare to poor people and in fact all people. However, basic services and human kindness are not do to budget cuts, they are do to a lack of compassion. I pray that we have not gotten to a point in our daily lives that we have lost the ability to care for our fellow man. When a person lays on the ground vomiting up blood and we clean up the blood but ignore the person. When we watch a person agonize in pain and just ignore them and assume they are faking, we really do have a problem.
So, whether you agree or disagree, now more than ever I really need your input. I need to hear from you. I need to know what is going on in our community. I also need to know what other stories we need to tell, and what is on your mind. I really do want to hear from you, I want you to “Talk to Danny.”
Danny J. Bakewell, Jr.
President and Executive Editor