SHELTON — A developmentally disabled homeless man, who spent three week in Mason General Hospital with no medical issues and at the hospital’s expense, has been released to a new home.
John Short, an emergency medicine doctor at Mason General who blogged about the situation, shared the news Thursday about the man given the pseudonym, Mason, for privacy reason.
“After 3 weeks in the hospital, Mason is finally heading to a place that can adequately meet his needs,” Short wrote in his blog, “Stuck in the Hospital.”
“This has been one of the strangest periods in my career. I would have never thought that an agency as large as the (Developmental Disabilities Administration) would shift responsibility to a small critical access hospital without a plan for compensation.”
Short said the man is a DDA client who had been living in a licensed home for adults. He was removed from the home for aggressive behavior.
A crisis responder evaluated “Mason” and he was transferred to Mason General by police for medical evaluation.
Short said no medical condition could be found. He questioned the situation in his blog:
“How have we gotten to the point in Washington state that a critical access hospital has become the de facto housing facility for (the Department of Social and Health Services and DDA) clients in crisis? Essentially, emergency departments are required by law to perform a medical screening exam. This law … requires anyone coming to an emergency department to be stabilized and treated, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay, but since its enactment in 1986 has remained an unfunded mandate. If no emergency medical condition is found patients are generally discharged. In Mason’s case we could not discharge him without the help of someone to care for him. This would be considered an unsafe discharge and the hospital would be responsible for anything that happened to him. Of course, this discharge is only theoretical as we would never put Mason and others like him in this situation.”
It was not known to where the man was released.
Short was unavailable for further comment Thursday.