When I blogged about Dave’s death earlier today, I didn’t realize there was an article on Madison.com about the homeless man’s death yesterday. It captured some of the grief and anger of those who had helped him during his last days.
I doubt very much whether there will be a follow-up article but here are the questions that I would ask if I were writing one. They are questions we all should demand answers to.
- What was the cause of death? Was it related either to his recent hospitalization or to the medications he was taking?
- What are the arrangements for his funeral and burial?
- Did the Janesville hospital know (or care) whether he was homeless when they released him after surgery? Did they provide transportation for him to Madison?
- Do other hospitals in the region send discharged patients to Madison’s shelters? (It wouldn’t surprise me; I know jails and prisons do).
- How many patients are released from Madison hospitals directly to the homeless shelters? (They must know; mail is regularly sent from the hospitals to shelter guests).
- How many more people will die before we come up with a solution to this long-term problem?
Feeding the State Street Family’s facebook feed tells the story of the heroic efforts to help Dave.
Thank you for writing about this. Earlier, I read the State Journal article, and while it was terribly sad, it seemed to emphasise the various kinds of help he got. Your two articles are more questioning. For example, the State Journal article simply mentioned that he was “unresponsive” and the police were called. It did not ask, “what was the cause of death” – your question is more to the point.
Sorry if I am a bit cynical, but there is a difference between sympathising about the “shock” of those who tried to help him, and asking why it happened in the first place. If the author of the article had written “do other hospitals in the region send discharged patients to Madison’s shelters?” I suspect it would have been edited out.