Surviving in the Hospital Desert

By Nuria Marquez Martinez

East Bay Express

A few months ago, Kathleen Sullivan was at work when she got a phone call: Her husband had been shot in the shoulder outside of their Richmond home in a random drive-by. The ambulance had taken him to the emergency room at Kaiser Permanente Richmond Medical Center. Sullivan drove there immediately.

When she arrived, her husband was lying on a gurney. The paramedics were hovering over his wound, going through gauze after gauze after gauze. "He was bleeding out over everything they were putting on him," Sullivan recalled. When she asked the paramedics what their plan was, they told her that Kaiser Richmond didn't have the resources to deal with that kind of trauma. They were just trying to stop the bleeding so they could take him to a bigger hospital, John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, about 25 miles away.

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