Post Hospital Stay Is Whirlwind of Beds, Programs

Homeless Woman Sent Back to Hospital After Discharge to Shelter

On a morning in late August, 57-year-old Mary Manning (a pseudonym, at her request) was resting on her sister Jackie’s porch. She was midway through a rugged course of chemotherapy for breast cancer. Manning looked at her younger sister and said, “You know, I’m dying, Sister. I think this poison is killing me.”

When Jackie went to check on Manning later in the day, she wasn’t at home. Calls to her cell went unanswered. Finally, at around 10 p.m., a nurse from Cottage Hospital called to inform her that her sister was in a bed on a medical ward there, receiving treatment for pneumonia, diarrhea, and dehydration. “I went to visit her the next day, and she was almost dead,” recalled Jackie. She said Manning was curled up on the bed in a fetal position.

After about 10 days of acute care, Manning was released to Casa Esperanza. Like William Richardson and other homeless hospital patients, Manning had nowhere else to go. The landlady who’d been renting her a room in a house near San Andres Street had recently told her she had to leave, that she was too sick to live there anymore. With only $600 a month in Social Security Insurance (SSI) coming in, there was little else she could afford in Santa Barbara, and Jackie, with small children to care for at home, couldn’t take her in either. To read more see

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