An Inclusive Litany

8/31/92

The San Francisco Examiner reported that a single homeless man named Diego has cost the city $1 million in "emergency" ambulance rides and medical tests over the past five years.

When the emergency number 911 is called, paramedics who respond must take the patient to a hospital if he or she wishes. There, the patient is given a battery of tests that are mandated by law to guard against malpractice suits. The tests usually run $1,000 and some homeless people call for more than one ambulance ride a day.

Usually, Good Samaritans will call 911 if they see someone lying on the street. The Examiner reported that one homeless man with a neck brace was taken to the hospital 127 times in 30 days because he would drink until he passed out on the sidewalk.

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