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Homeless man found dead on park bench outside state capitol in Madison, WI

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WI_DEM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-17-09 08:54 AM
Original message
Homeless man found dead on park bench outside state capitol in Madison, WI
This morning the perky local morning news reporter reported this in her usual perky way and said "he died of natural causes." Natural for a 38 year old man to die alone living on the streets. No, he died of neglect. Oh well, one less bit of riffraff to mar the magnificent state capitol sceney:


A Downtown worker said he pushed officials for months to get help for a man found dead outside the state Capitol Tuesday morning.

"I was urging people to commit him, because he clearly lacked the mental ability to live by himself," said Mike Roach, who had befriended the man, Dwayne Benjamin Warren, 38. "Who spends two winters living outside in 30-below temperatures?"

Capitol Police discovered Warrens body around 7 a.m. on a park bench at the intersection of South Pinckney and East Main streets. The Dane County coroners office said Warren died of natural causes.

Roach said he first met Warren about 2 years ago and frequently checked in on him and gave him food.

Ald. Mike Verveer, 4th District, who said he learned about Warren mostly through Roachs efforts, said Downtown Madisons homeless die of natural causes frequently, rarely attracting attention.

"The sad reality is that its not a rare occurrence for homeless folks to die, and you just dont hear about it. The police and the coroners office just dont do press releases normally if its natural causes," Verveer said. "But because Dwayne died literally at the foot of the Capitol on a bench the whole community knows about it."

During the winter, Roach said, Warren usually lingered on a heating grate near Roachs office building around South Webster and East Main streets.

Verveer said he believes Warren spent little if any time at a shelter during winter, and Roach said it was clear Warren was mentally unstable.

The county did purchase thermal boots to help Warren get through last winter, Roach said. But he said Warren declined mental help.

Last month, Roach said, Warren was complaining about a pain in his leg. Roach said he offered to take Warren to the hospital, but he refused.

"He was a very kind and gentle guy, and its a real tragedy," Roach said. "He slipped through the cracks."

Officials are still attempting to contact Warrens family, according to a statement from the coroner.

http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/local/455120
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Norrin Radd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-17-09 08:58 AM
Response to Original message
1. Homelessness is a great shame of our country.
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area51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-17-09 09:07 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Agreed. (n/t)
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grannie4peace Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-17-09 09:10 AM
Response to Original message
3. so very sad:(
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Liberal_in_LA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-17-09 09:57 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. yeah. Terrible story
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myrna minx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-17-09 09:11 AM
Response to Original message
4. .
:cry:
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-17-09 09:19 AM
Response to Original message
5. Sorry, but it's not natural in this day and age for a person in their thirties to die
His being homeless is directly connected to his death, he couldn't afford to get the medical care he needed, and our current medical system failed to serve him. This is why we need single payer UHC, so that people like this can simply walk in off the street and get medical attention when he needs it.

Living out on the streets is hard on you, hard on your body and your health, I know, having been homeless for a couple years in my youth. For the news reader to blithely describe his death as occurring from "natural causes" is simply wrong, state the truth, he died from being homeless.
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Indydem Donating Member (866 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-17-09 09:56 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Look, I'm a proponent of single-payer...
But how in the hell is universal healthcare going to help someone who doesn't want help? The man was offered a trip to the hospital AND mental care and declined both. Are we going to start arresting people from the streets and take them to the hospital and chain them to the bed until we help them and get them on meds? Some people just don't want to be helped, and the idea that we are going to force our "help" on them is repugnant.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-17-09 10:05 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. Because for most homeless, especially the mentally disturbed ones,
A hospital is an institution, which is the last place that they want to be. If we had storefront clinics, operating under single payer UHC, where the guy could walk in of his own volition and not had to pay, I'm certain that he would have done just that. After all, he was complaining of a pain in his leg.

You've got to understand that to the homeless, especially mentally ill homeless, institutions like hospitals are quite threatening. It's well known that once a battery of doctors, etc. in a hospital get ahold of you, you can be declared incompetent and shipped off to a mental institution against your will. It is this sort of fear that even keeps many homeless from utilizing shelters during the winter. There's also a large streak of wanting to be self sufficient that runs through the personalities of many homeless people.

Contrariwise, the homeless view jails as their best friends during the cold months. Go commit some petty crime and Voila! you've got three hots and a cot for six months, no charge.

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Indydem Donating Member (866 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-17-09 10:17 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. So, again, how does UHC solve this??
In the OP, The man named Roach offered to take the man to the doctor. I doubt, based on the man's other acts of kindness, that he intended to make the homeless man pay for it. Furthermore, Wisconsin has a VERY preogressive insurance plan for the poor and uninsured. (My wife is from there and is in the medical field.) This man didn't want to go to the doctor, hospital or walk in clinic or anything. Whether he was mentally ill or whatnot is irrelevent, he didn't want to go.

Furthermore, if going to the hospital is scary for the homeless and mentally ill, how is that going to change under UHC? If he goes to these walk in clinics and the NP or doctor says "sorry, you need to go to a hospital because it is beyond my abilities here" why would he go?

Everyone seems to think that just throwing money after the homeless problem will solve it. Some people choose to be homeless for a medley of reasons. Not being able to pay for health care is not one of them. Those who do not choose to be homeless need our help and compassion. Arresting them and forcing them to get meds isn't very compassionate, IMHO.
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izquierdista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-17-09 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. Forcing help
Help can't be forced, but offers can vary in their effectiveness. He could have declined the help, thinking that it would obligate him. If they made it clear that it wouldn't and he still declined, they could have offered him something he wanted if he would consent to being checked out. Often, those in the most need are also in denial about what it is that they need. A little salesmanship could have helped here, even though salesmanship is usually plied to part people from their money, not help them.
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WI_DEM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-17-09 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #5
11. Of course it isn't.
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JNelson6563 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-17-09 09:59 AM
Response to Original message
8. Poor soul.
Our great shame. :cry:

Julie
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