On a recent weekday, the front door of the new, dilapidated, old, dilapo-laced, dilated and crowded house where the patient who had sought care from Dr. Boulton was admitted looked like an abandoned, dilapsing trailer.
The hospital was only minutes away.
The man, a woman, and two children, ages 10 and 11, were lying in a bed.
A nurse stood over them and tried to revive them with IVs.
“I don’t think they are going to be OK,” said Dr. David Boulson, the medical director of a nearby hospital.
The woman and the children were in ICU.
A few minutes later, another nurse arrived and the family was released.
But a few days earlier, Dr. Paul Boulons’ wife was still in intensive care after being hit by a car while trying to cross a street, leaving the elderly couple and their children behind.
They were not able to get the children to a nearby park where their elderly mother had taken them for the day.
“The hospital is full, but they have no staff, no doctors, no nurses, no nothing,” said the woman’s daughter, Lisa, as she sat in the waiting room.
“So the kids are sitting in a room in the ICU waiting for someone to come and take care of them.”
“I feel like I’m a criminal,” she said.
A doctor at the hospital is trying to find another physician.
And that is not unusual.
“We are inundated with patients,” said Carol Kasten, the executive director of the Southern California chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
“This is a very high population of patients, a very large population.”
She said it’s hard to get a general practitioner to see patients, especially in remote areas where few doctors are needed.
“What is going on is, we are being overrun,” said Kastens husband, Mike Kastenson.
“They have a system that is just so out of date.
It’s not just a medical problem.
But Dr. Kastersen said the number of doctors he sees is actually lower than it has been in years. “
There’s no way to get more doctors, because the supply of doctors is not enough.”
But Dr. Kastersen said the number of doctors he sees is actually lower than it has been in years.
There are more patients in ICUs now, he said, but more are being discharged than being admitted.
“It’s a problem that is very much not being taken seriously by the federal government, by the state government, even by some of the medical schools,” he said.
He said there are some problems with how hospitals are treating people who need care.
“Some of them are not treating these patients right,” he explained.
“And that is a shame because they are very, very lucky to get out of there alive.”
The Boulmans are not the only people who are not getting the care they need.
A recent survey by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation found that the number who are seeing a doctor a month or more dropped from a high of 16% in 2008 to about 10% in 2017.
But Dr, Boulon said he and his wife are still very fortunate.
“My wife and I do not have to take care,” he recalled.
“She is getting good care.
We are very fortunate.”
In a city where the population has declined by about 3% in the past 15 years, there are many reasons to believe the trend will continue.
“In the last five years, our population has gone from about 7% to 8% and it is likely to go even higher in the next five years,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of UCLA’s Institute of Population Health and Aging, said.
“But the population growth is not going to reverse.”
The trend is also being felt across the country.
While many cities have seen a decline in residents, Los Angeles has seen a sharp increase in the number with a population of more than 300,000, or about 20% of the U.S. population.
“It is a trend we have seen throughout this country and we are going from a small population in a city of less than 1 million people to a population that is growing at a rate of more like 3 million people,” Dr, Faucs said.
For now, the trend appears to be a temporary one.
The number of people receiving a hospital stay rose 1% in August and the number getting a medical appointment more than doubled.
The population is still rising and Dr. Fauces said there is no end in sight.
But Dr. Gerson said that even with the drop in population, the number needed to be treated is increasing.
“Our population is growing and the population that needs to be cared for is growing,” he added.
The city is currently at around a third of its historical level of population, Drs.
Gaffney and Fauccis said.
So they are not expecting the city’s health care system