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| Saunders and Walker

The New York Times reports on the terribly deficient emergency services and medical care received by a retired journalist who, after a severe beating, was assumed to be just a drunk lying on a sidewalk. I am not surprised that the assumption of drunkenness impacted the attention given to the victim. Over my years of practice I have noted the same attitude toward other unconscious or semi-conscious persons.

What is different in this news report is that an inspector general conducted a thorough fact-finding mission and issued a report that found fault. If the treatment and medical care of any of my clients were ever investigated by any official or agency (such as the State licensing boards) the facts were hard to see through the whitewash.

Report Cites ‘Failures’ of Emergency Response in Reporter’s Death

Firefighters, ambulance technicians, police officers and the nurses and doctors at a Washington hospital committed “multiple individual failures” in responding to the ultimately fatal beating of a journalist near his home last January, an official inquiry concluded today.

In a report that raised serious questions about emergency medical treatment in the nation’s capital, the District of Columbia’s inspector general said the initial response to the attack upon David E. Rosenbaum, a retired New York Times reporter, suggested “alarming levels of complacency and indifference.”

A string of mistakes led to a collective and erroneous conclusion that Mr. Rosenbaum, who was found lying semi-conscious on a sidewalk the night of Jan. 6, was drunk when in fact he had been beaten and robbed, the inquiry found.

The assumption that Mr. Rosenbaum, 63, was intoxicated led ambulance technicians, police officers and the staff at Howard University Hospital to handle him with far less urgency than is necessary for a person with a head injury, the report said.

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