CHCF Center for Health Reporting | April 3, 2012
The engine of Fire-Rescue Co. 7 heaved out of the station on a recent night — wailing past couples bound for the Gaslamp Quarter straight to a man who was sprawled, legs akimbo, on a dirty third-floor walkway.
The address was familiar: a Father Joe's Villages complex. The victim was recognizable: an epileptic man with a history of substance abuse whom firefighter/paramedic Dave Stepp treated blocks away just days before.
CHCF Center for Health Reporting
With an ambulance gurney cradling his defeated body, Raohl Hursh sought peace with his past inside the frenzied emergency room of the UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest. It was his 29th visit in four years, his 12th in a month, his second in four hours.
"I've already tried to kill myself," the former serviceman with a history of mental illness said, vodka-addled and occupying a room where a beehive of doctors and nurses would soon hover over a heart attack patient. "I’ve killed others. ... So I’m being punished for all this. It hurts. It hurts."