Tuesday, September 05, 2006
The Grim Meathook Future Of New Orleans
Charity Hospital, built when people used to dream about the future.
Times-Picayune: When needed most, psych services gone
"In a scene that is becoming disturbingly common, New Orleans police were summoned during the July 4th weekend to Mid-City to deal with a paranoid schizophrenic man who had turned violent.
The man had lost his home in eastern New Orleans to Hurricane Katrina and had stopped taking his medications, he told friends, because the free clinic where he used to get the drugs also was obliterated by the storm.
Filthy and confused, he spit and cursed at officers as a half-dozen wrestled him to the ground and strapped leather restraints on him. They found three pairs of scissors in his clothes and two ice picks, one hidden in his cap.
Before Katrina, he would have been taken to Charity Hospital, where a special psychiatric team could have evaluated him and maybe kept him overnight. But in post-Katrina New Orleans, there are no such teams and no beds available for overnight stays.
He was taken instead to one of the private hospitals outside the city that have grudgingly accepted psychiatric patients since the storm. Fifteen minutes later, the man was released. Out of their jurisdiction, New Orleans police said they could only watch as he began to make his way back to the city."
Posted by clayton cubitt at 4:03 PM