America

They Shoot Patients, Don’t They?

By Andrej Mrevlje |

One would like to say it is just Texas, but it is all over this country: The militarization of even the safest havens is becoming extreme.

A young college student is in a very unstable state of mind. Following the advice of his parents by phone from hundreds of miles away, he gets in his car and drives to a hospital. As he gets into the parking lot he feels so disoriented that he crashes his car. He is at the limits of self-control, but he is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He needs psychiatric help.

In the hospital, where he never got any mental health evaluation or treatment, he instead got bullet in his chest from the gun of an armed security guard who the hospital had hired to protect its staff.  Except that the patient, Alan Pean, miraculously survives and tells the story.

This incredible story, published in the New York Times  the day I obtained my Green Card, made me think about what has become of healthcare in this country. It is a country where some schools now have armed guards as well. One has to be grateful to Alan’s family who, instead of coming to a financial settlement with the hospital, had the courage to cooperate with a reporter, who did detailed and painstaking research and involved radio and podcast journalists in order to make this story resound widely. Elisabeth Rosenthal did not want to own this story, she wanted it to be heard and to be discussed. I know that this for sure. In the end, this story is not only a troubling testimony about American society, but also a model for modern journalism, with all its multimedia elements. Thanks, Libby!

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