CA hospitals want cops to pay tab for uninsured suspects

The San Diego Union-Tribune, February 9, 2011
When a San Diego police sergeant shot a man he said pulled a fake gun on him in a dark parking lot, Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla ended up paying for all of the suspect's medical care. Scripps CEO Chris Van Gorter said the cost of emergency services to treat a gunshot wound can cost as much as $300,000 - an expense hospitals have to absorb if a person is uninsured. In this case, Robert McBride Jr., 22, was shot Jan. 26 by Sgt. Robert Wills in a CVS Pharmacy parking lot in Mira Mesa. He was taken to Scripps but not arrested until after he signed himself out of the hospital last Thursday. Police Officer David Stafford said that night no arrest had been made because the city would have been responsible for McBride's medical bills. But David Ramirez, executive assistant police chief in San Diego, said that money never was - and never has been - a factor in deciding when police should arrest a person who needs medical attention.

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