Sacramento, CA

Unhoused man and wheelchair user says Kaiser released him against his will

Robert J Hansen

Bob DeShieles Part I
Unhoused resident of South Sacramento who has been unable to acquire a motel voucher on Tuesday, July 6, 2021.Robert J Hansen

Sacramento, Calif.-- By Robert J Hansen

Kaiser Permanente medical facility released an unhoused resident who uses a wheelchair in South Sacramento after one night in the hospital with a bus ticket and half clothed on July 3.

Robert DeShieles, 64, fell unresponsive because of the extreme heat and was taken by ambulance to Kaiser hospital which released him after one night.

He was released without his required medical equipment, a catheter, and had to ride the bus half dressed back to the streets.

“The bus driver had to make a special stop because there isn’t a stop out where I am,” DeShieles said.

He has cellulitis which could be prevented by proper wound care and good hygiene.

“My leg was really infected, bad,” DeShieles said. “All they [Kaiser] did was clean the wound one time.”

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection and left untreated can spread and cause serious health problems.

“I have it on my side, my legs and toes,” DeShieles said. “I even have someone who will help me if we can get the motel voucher.”

Zuri Colbert, founder of Community Lead Advocacy Program (CLAP), attempted getting Mr. Resident into a space since last week due to the heat and his medical needs.

CLAP is a non-profit that provides food and resource outreaches for our unsheltered and community members in need.
Courtesy of Community Lead Advocacy Project (CLAP)

“We let Bridgette Dean know before the holiday weekend that Bob needed to be linked to services to get a motel voucher,” Colbert said.

Colbert told the Director of Community Response for the City of Sacramento, Bridgette Dean, that DeShieles was transported by ambulance to Kaiser last Friday.

“The EMT thought it was drastic enough that they had to take him to the hospital,” Colbert said.

Dean said in an email to city and county staff that Joe's needs are quite severe and they should be trying to find board and care to best serve him.

"If there is a way to get Bob into a shelter bed, hotel via city or county voucher over the weekend," Dean said. “We need to strive to do that."

Dean also asked that they continue to follow up and provide a room that can accommodate a wheelchair.

“Please work with the client to best support [him],” Dean said. “I hope that we will continue to work to get this individual to the best place to assist him.”

Dean provided Colbert the phone number of the motel voucher line but when she called, the woman who answered told her that the only people allowed to call the voucher line are the police and the hospital social workers.

Colbert informed the woman that the hospital did not call to have him placed in a motel.

Nonetheless, the woman insisted that Colbert would have to talk to Dean, again, after the holiday because the line is only for police and social workers.

Colbert emailed Dean again on June 6 telling her what she was told when she called the that there is no record of DeShieles.

“Just wondering what orgs and community members do when there are people who clearly qualify for the vouchers or extra assistance and this happens,” Colbert said via emai to Dean.

CLAP has provided a tent, toiletries, water and food so Bob could retreat from the heat and medically recover.

Chyresse Hill, spokesperson for Kaiser, said Bob's account of the story does not align with the facts that they have, but due to patient privacy cannot provide more detail.

Go to CLAP’s website to donate or volunteer your time to Unhoused residents of Sacramento.

#Unhoused, #Sacramento, #CLAP, #housing, #Kaiser, #CityofSacramento

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Robert J Hansen is an investigative journalist and economist. Focused on holding elected officials, police and the courts accountable to the people throughout the greater Sacramento area.

Sacramento County, CA

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