October 30, 2016

Photo Essay: A Vacant Hospital's Frightening Admissions

Yet another hospital is being converted into housing. (It's no longer abandoned—just vacant.)

This latest one is the former Metropolitan Medical Center in the West Adams neighborhood of LA—the city's first black-owned hospital, which opened in 1971.

But when it was later taken over and corporatized (becoming part of a hospital chain), everything went downhill.

Its emergency room was the first to close in 2013, with the rest of the wards to follow suit.

"Metro," as it was known, had been bringing in hundreds of homeless to give them tests and treatments—both unnecessary and probably dangerous—so that they could fill their psych ward's empty beds, in exchange for insurance kickbacks. Psych ward admissions reportedly pay better than regular hospital admissions.

After admitting to criminal mismanagement and conspiring to defraud the government's healthcare system, the hospital couldn't afford to run without the Skid Row recruitment scam—and it especially couldn't after having paid all those legal fees, fines, and restitution.

If the staff got paid at all, many of their paychecks were bouncing. A whistleblower reported that a similar scheme had been set up to bring in defenseless elderly patients from nursing homes, falsifying their consent. In the wake of financial ruin, the hospital was shuttered abruptly in 2013, along with two other hospitals under the same ownership.

The pharmacy is still full of warnings (but no drugs)...

...and doors are unlocked.

All of the beds are empty now...

...and the hospital is so very vacant.

During its most recent run of operation, the first floor consisted primarily of offices for administration... management...

...admitting, and human resources.

There was also the cafeteria kitchen (now painted "prison pink" for an art installation)...

...a grease-stained, industrial-scale relic of the hospital's attempt to feed the masses...

...which included not only the sick patients but also their visitors—and their doctors (who had their own dining room).

The division between staff areas and patient areas is resoundingly clear.

All the contraptions make you wonder whether they were keeping the patients safe...

...or keeping themselves safe from the patients.

In total, Metropolitan Medical Center once had 212 beds between all of its various units.

Babies came into the world in these maternity wards...

...people got x-ray screenings in this radiology department...

...and others got put on oxygen.

On the second floor, there were five surgical bays...

...and at least two scrub rooms... well as a suture room...

...and a recovery room.

I wonder what kind of antigens or pathogens remain on the surfaces and in the air there.

There's certainly enough paperwork left over—from schedules and physician rosters to patient medical records and pain assessment charts.

Maybe they didn't think anybody would see these parts of the hospital, like the psychiatric ward on the fourth floor.

Maybe they didn't think any of the patients would tell the outside world what was going on inside.

Maybe they made sure that none of the patients could...

...or that if they did, no one would believe them.

Now, the hospital that so desperately needed more patients has no patients at all.

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Photo Essay: Last Chance Look at Linda Vista Hospital (Roof, Boiler Room, Kitchen & More)

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