A week ago Tuesday, a few minutes before midnight, the temperature in Baltimore was below freezing. A man named Imamu Baraka stepped out of his office on Howard Street, near the University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus for a quick trip to the drugstore. He encountered security guards from the hospital pushing a young woman in a wheelchair, who was dressed only in a hospital gown and socks, despite the frigid cold.
The reasons she came to be taken out of the hospital by security guards are also unclear. What is clear, however, is that Mr. Baraka saw something, and said something. He got involved. And he showed extraordinary compassion and concern for a woman who was a stranger to him.
Mr. Baraka joins Tom to share that experience, and to question the inhumane policies that permitted hospital workers to discharge a vulnerable patient into the freezing night. Then, Tom discusses the access-to-care challenges facing many people suffering from mental health issues and homelessness, with Dr. Jonathan Shepherd, board president of the Black Mental Health Alliance and medical director of Hope Health Systems, a private Baltimore mental health treatment center. Joining the conversation on the line from California is Philip Reese, a Pulitzer Prize finalist and reporter for the Sacramento Bee who has written about "patient dumping" incidents in Nevada.