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Government Mulls Closure of Hospital Where a Woman Died Unattended in ER

In a typically bureaucratic reaction, the Californian authorities have said they could consider closing down a hospital at the centre of national outrage over a woman who was left to die on the floor of the emergency room.

The Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor hospital, operated by the Los Angeles County department of Health Services, is located near crime hotspots, and serves poor and minorities in South Los Angeles. Predictably it has been going to seed for sometime.

Complaints of incompetence and mismanagement have poured in and some periodical attempts at overhauling are made.

The death of a woman on the floor of the Emergency Room lobby in the hospital recently once again turned the spotlight on the pathetic conditions there.

After shocking details emerged of the callousness of the hospital staff and a senator pitched in, blasting those responsible, S. Kimberly Belshe, the state's health and human services secretary, said she had thought Hospital had been making a lot of progress toward correcting its problems -- at least until now.

``We are all so taken aback by the recent incidents at MLK-Harbor,'' Belshe said. ``It does call into question the extent to which meaningful progress has in fact been made.''

Belshe said officials are trying to figure out whether more harm would be caused by closing the hospital or keeping it open. ``When do the dangers associated with keeping the hospital open outweigh the dangers of this hospital closing?'' she asked. ``That's a very important balancing act.''

According to a report released Friday by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, six staff members -- including a nurse and two nursing assistants -- saw or walked past a dying woman writhing on the floor.

The six are in addition to two others whose roles have already been made public by the media - a contract janitor who cleaned the floo
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