Some call it "Dante's Inferno." I'm talking about Skid Row. For the hundreds of homeless who call it home, it truly is a living hell. The 50 square blocks that comprise this area in downtown Los Angeles are some of the scariest streets I've ever seen.
I've come here half a dozen times on "360" assignments, and little changes from one shoot to the next. Thanks to a greater police presence, fewer homeless people live here now than they did when we first visited two years ago. But it appears hospitals may still be dumping homeless people on the streets of Skid Row or in shelters here instead of giving them care.
The homeless are the perfect victims, according to L.A. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, who has charged three hospitals with illegaly dumping homeless patients.
"They might be suffering from dementia, have drug or alcohol abuse problems. They don't have a home ... They aren't the best witnesses if we're trying to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a hospital did something wrong here," he said.
For my story tonight, I interviewed a 26-year-old homeless man, Jose Gonzalez, who says he was dumped on skid row by an L.A.-area hospital just last month. He has severe back pain and can barely walk.
He says the hospital's social workers told him he was being discharged to get rehab, but instead he was taken to a shelter on Skid Row.
"Why would they send me an hour away?" Gonzalez wonders. "What were they trying to hide?"
The hospital is under investigation.
What's amazing to me is that right now there is no law on the books that specifically makes it illegal to dump homeless patients on skid row or anywhere else against their will. Some of the hospitals have promised to stop the practice, but the city attorney says he has investigated about 70 reports of dumping and has 10 active cases right now.
Who should be held accountable? The hospitals, or like many on the street here say, all of us?
-- By Randi Kaye, CNN Correspondent