A doctor for the homeless

Every morning, this doctor and his team hit the streets to treat homeless patients. 🙌

Homelessness is very hard if health is not intact

Dr. Coley King specializes in street medicine — treating homeless patients wherever they are. Each morning, he goes out with a team of case managers and social workers. Dr. King’s medical outreach is in Los Angeles County — the epicenter of California’s homelessness crisis.

Over 1,000 homeless people died in Los Angeles County in 2019 alone according to the Los Angeles County Coroner

“The goal of that of the whole team is to get them into stable housing. But along the way, we really want to get them plugged into meaningful health care and get their medical situation stabilized. The importance of getting treatment out to these folks is really highlighted by their very high death rate. They die almost 30 years younger than the rest of us. The fact that we may make it to 80 and they may barely make it to 50, that's probably the heavy part of this job and the very difficult part. I've known up to 20 patients that died this year [2019] and it’s sad. They're good folks. We miss them a lot. I also want the ability to treat their mental health condition right where they're at. And that is a very big component of this is addressing the needs that they have. And often patients who have become disorganized from their mental illness have become homeless because of that”, Dr. Coley King tells Brut.

Helping save lives by treating people who may need emergency care

Dr. King has been practicing street medicine for 12 years through the Venice Family Clinic — one of the first on the West Coast to do street medicine. In 2018, the Venice Family Clinic won a grant to develop a curriculum to train residents, doctors, and nurses on street medicine.