WASHINGTON (ABC7) — In an exclusive video obtained by 7 ON YOUR SIDE Investigative Reporter Scott Taylor, three Howard University security guards appear to dump a woman in a wheelchair onto a sidewalk and just walk away right outside of Howard University Hospital near Georgia Avenue.
The video shows the woman's feet almost sticking straight up as the guards move her down the sidewalk. They stop and she tumbles out of the wheelchair. One of the guards tosses a bag onto the ground and then the security guards turn and walk away. The unidentified woman remains motionless on the sidewalk and nobody in the video comes to her aid.
You can hear one bystander say: "What the freak are they doing to this lady? She just slipped off of the cart. What is freaking going on here?"
A security guard walking away from the woman on the sidewalk says, "Leave her there."
The person who gave the video to Taylor and the 7 ON YOUR SIDE I-Team does not want to be identified but says: "I was actually appalled. I was shocked because I never seen this before."
Eventually, DC Fire & EMS arrived at the scene, but the woman reportedly refused treatment.
Dr. Shelly McDonald-Pinkett, the hospital's Chief Medical Officer, says the woman was being discharged.
"I've seen the video and it's troubling and tragic," she said. "It's horrifying what happened to this particular patient and I could never condone that as a practicing physician or someone who is very concerned about what happens to our patients or people in our community."
“What are your protocols for removing people from your Hospital that refuse to leave?" Taylor asked McDonald-Pinkett.
"We try and treat every patient with respect and dignity. We work with families and community organizations and try and make their transition to home from the hospital as smooth as possible," McDonald-Pinkett said.
Dr. McDonald-Pinkett adds "We try and treat every patient with respect and dignity. We work with Families and Community organizations and try and make their transition to home from the Hospital as smooth as possible."
The I-Team gave Howard University Hospital the video days ago and right now an internal investigation is ongoing. They are zeroing on comments like this one you can hear on the video: “You can worry about her all you want ... she threw herself on the ground."
Howard University Hospital CEO Jim Diegel emailed the following statement to the I-Team Tuesday in relation to the video:
“At Howard University Hospital, our highest purpose is the safety and well-being of every patient.
The video is profoundly disturbing to watch and does not reflect our core values – dignity, compassion and respect for every single person that entrusts us with their care. It depicts procedures that we do not and will never tolerate.
On April 24th, the woman featured in the video was appropriately treated by Howard University Hospital for medical issues and was recommended for discharge. The actions taken after her discharge, however, were a significant departure from the normal process.
Upon receipt of the video, taken by a bystander, HUH took immediate action and launched a thorough investigation. The individuals involved in this incident have been removed from their duties pending the outcome of this investigation.
We have already taken necessary actions to ensure an incident such as this never happens again. Those steps include appropriate training and a review of necessary disciplinary actions.
We take the sacred trust with our patients and our community very seriously. Our commitment is to express our core values in the delivery of care and service to patients we serve every single day.”
The woman has yet to be identified.