UPDATE: Tennova issued an apology Thursday after they escorted a man from the Cleveland facility's grounds after he stopped to help a man in a wheelchair who made his way into traffic.
The hospital's statement can be read in full below:
Our hospital follows widely accepted medical protocols based on patients’ individual needs to determine when it is safe for them to be discharged. We have case managers and other staff who are responsible for ensuring the safe discharge of patients and helping connect patients with the resources they may need after they leave the hospital. When patients are unable to obtain those resources and are willing to accept assistance, we work with community organizations to connect them with needed services. Unfortunately, some patients do not accept assistance. We also have practices in place to follow up with patients who may be at risk for being readmitted (or needing to come back to the hospital unexpectedly) to make sure they have access to medication and transportation, and understand their treatment plan, among other things. It is our responsibility to protect the privacy of all of our patients and visitors, so we do not allow filming at our hospital without permission, nor are we able to provide internal video footage.
We apologize to Mr. Standifer for any misunderstanding, and he and his family are always welcome to seek care here.
"Thank you for taking the time to bring a neighbor in need to our hospital – it’s part of what makes Bradley County such a great community. Be assured that you and your family are always welcome at our hospital and we are sorry for any misunderstanding otherwise. Filming or photography inside the hospital is prohibited to protect the privacy of all our patients and their families that may be present. We will work with our staff to ensure they’re better prepared to respond appropriately in the future. We are deeply committed to serving all our patients with integrity and compassion."
PREVIOUS STORY: A Cleveland man said it was his moral obligation to help a homeless man he saw leave a local hospital in a wheelchair and wander into traffic.
Josh Standifer said the man was discharged from Tennova Hospital, and left to fend for himself. When he tried to help he was kicked off hospital property. What happened next was caught on camera and shared thousands of times on Facebook.
Josh Standifer was at Tennova Hospital in Cleveland for an appointment when he noticed a homeless man in the lobby in hospital scrubs and slumped over in a wheelchair. When Standifer left his appointment, the man was gone. He says the next time he saw him, the man was attempting to cross two lanes of traffic.
“His head slumped down, his feet are barely moving. I parked my car and I get out, and I said sir you are almost in the road, I am going to have to move you.” Josh Standifer believes anyone in his situation would have done the same thing.
He found a homeless man slumped over on the side of Chablis Avenue, near the exit of Tennova Hospital.
He said the man told him he was discharged from the hospital. “The man is medicated, sure there is a mental health issue here. He is now urinating on himself. Can't hold his head up he is slurring his word.”
Standifer called different homeless shelters hoping they could help, but no one answered.
He then called police. “The officer shut that down and mentioned they have gotten numerous calls about him before. They weren't sure if they were going to do anything, which shocked me, cause you know, I understand. There are things in life and people that drive you crazy, but to me this was a case of someone needing assistance. The paramedic and officer get in the car and leave.”
He used Facebook Live to capture what was happening. Standifer was then stopped by security, when he tried to take the man back inside. “I just look at the security guard and say guys; I am taking him inside that building.”
Nurses then came to the man's aid and Standifer was approached by hospital employees. “If you don't take those down it is a HIPAA violation, you are going to be sued, and we are going to ban you for life for trespassing.”
After refusing to delete the videos, security guards escorted him off the property. “He needed some help, and this was a situation he was in need and everyone just bailed on him. No one helped him.”
Standifer believes the exposure to the problem is what helped get the man some help. He hasn't been able to find out how the man is doing, but hopes his experience will help others think twice about driving by.
“If you stop and talk to them you could be it. You could be that person's last line of defense and you just don't realize it yet.”
We reached out multiple times to Tennova with questions about the incident, their discharge procedures and the man in the video.
On behalf of the hospital, please refer to the below statement:
"Our hospital takes the care and privacy of our patients very seriously. We have practices and policies in place to support the safe discharge of patients. The information conveyed in the videos is not accurate. Unlike the ability of private citizens to discuss sensitive matters publicly, hospitals are held to a high standard that requires we protect patients’ health information. Due to federal privacy laws, we are unable to provide more information in this case and, therefore, are unable to comment further. Above all, we are committed to the safety and privacy of our patients."