Sunday, January 18, 2009

Los Angeles and the failing economy

I know that crime is a daily occurrence here.  It has been for years.  After all, we are the 2nd biggest city in the US.  But I have always felt a little sheltered from it living in Santa Monica.  Sure, we have crime but I usually feel pretty safe in our neighborhood.  We also don't have a lot of crime victims come in to the ER.  

So today I got a nice eye opener when we took care of a doctor that works at our hospital who had been robbed and beaten in downtown LA.  (Yeah, I know, who goes downtown??)  He had driven to the jewelry district at 230 in the afternoon on a Saturday.  Broad daylight.  As he was locking up his car he had his fanny pack (slight snicker here.  Fanny pack?!) slung over his shoulder.  A man grabbed his fanny pack and then punched him full on in the face and ran.  The doc didn't have a phone (it was in his fanny pack) so got into his car and drove all the way to our hospital.  He reported his cards stolen and was told by the credit card company that one of them had already been used at a downtown gas station convenience store.  

(What wrenches at my heart strings a little bit is that even though this doc knew he was bad off, his eye was swollen shut and he was rapidly losing vision in that eye, he drove all the way to us.  He could have gone to several closer hospitals but he went to where he felt safe, felt at home.  His own hospital.)

We thought he had a ruptured globe.  We all waited anxiously for the CT report while the eye doctor examined him.  Luckily, his eye was okay.  His retina was bleeding, his orbit was fractured, and he had a laceration under his eye but he wasn't going to lose his eye.  Can you imagine how one moment could change your life forever?

What really spooked me was that this doc is not a small man.  He doesn't look "weak" or "vulnerable" in any way.  If it can happen to him, it can happen to anybody.  And even worse, what if this robber had a gun?  Yikes.  The LAPD came to take a report.  They said that the gas station store had got the guy on surveillence tapes when he bought things with the credit card.  So maybe they'll catch him... but if you've ever seen those grainy tapes they probably won't.  

I hate to think that we should be worried about our safety every  time we go out.  Or even in our homes if we forget to lock the door and some crazy person decides to home invade.  And what really scares me is that this stressful economic time may drive some people to commit crimes they normally wouldn't.  Desperation causes people to do desperate things.        


leahsmom said...

How do you use a credit card without a pin #? MoM

LA RN said...

You only need a pin number when you use a debit card...

Leah Perlingieri said...

sometimes i think how glad i am we live in this semi-secluded neighborhood, in which one would have to travel up a super steep hill to get to our street. as things get worse, crime will get bad, no matter where you live. i am so glad that drs eye is going to be okay.

oh, and at many gas stations (for gas) you just stick in your debit and there is no pin or signature required. crazy.

Anonymous said...

Hey Naomi,
Haven't been able to reach you on your cell, for some reason it won't let me leave a message. Anyway, can you please call me? Been thinking about you and I have news to share... anyway, home number is 389-7513. Or email me at

Hope all is well with you my friend!