Street Stories

Weblog of Seattle minister to the homeless Rick Reynolds, Operation Nightwatch

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

Caring for human beings seems like the best use of my time, homeless or not.

Monday, August 04, 2008

What? No more "GOMERS?"

If you don't know, a GOMER is someone that a hospital doesn't want messing up the emergency room: "Get Out of My Emergency Room" = GOMER.
Nursing home residents about to expire, homeless people without health care resources, hopeless cases. These people clog the health system.
Well, the hospitals in LA thought they had a solution until today, more here.
In the mid 1990s, when I was still new at Operation Nightwatch, I was one of two employees. I'd be outplacing homeless people in shelter, and we'd run out. There would be some sad guy, the last guy in the door, with no place to go.
"Try the emergency room at Harborview!" And so he'd take the #4 bus up the hill and hunker down in a chair.
Until I got a call from the social worker. I guess the hospital didn't want the business.
Twenty five years ago we had another option. The guys would pay $3 and sit in a dark movie theatre all night, trying to ignore the porno on the big screen. Pretty oppressive.
Wouldn't it be great to have Benaroya Hall open all night for homeless people? $5 a head for the night?
Cheaper than a hospital ER, that's for sure, and the seats are more comfy too.



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