19 St. Louis U. Pub. L. Rev. 357 (2000)
Discharges to the Streets: Hospitals and Homelessness

handle is hein.journals/stlpl19 and id is 363 raw text is: DISCHARGES TO THE STREETS:
HOSPITALS AND HOMELESSNESS
SIDNEY D. WATSON*
TNTRODUCTION
Imagine the children's game of musical chairs, but played with both an
individual aim to keep a chair and a collective goal to keep everyone seated.
Imagine, as well, that in this game not only are seats gradually removed, but
the number of players is progressively increased.
At the start of the game, adjustments are made easily enough, and for a short
time the collective goal is achieved. True, the number of seats decreases and
the pool of individuals competing for them gets bigger, but those sitting down
accommodate the others by sharing their chairs or allowing them onto their
laps. The seats are small, however, and there are limits to how much weight
people can bear. Inevitably, some people find themselves standing, their
number growing as time passes.
As the game continues, many small dramas unfold. Some of those seated on
laps are pushed off, then allowed back again.   Seats are periodically
relinquished, and the appearance of an empty seat precipitates a scramble
among those outside the circle. Indeed, many people move back and forth
between standing up and sitting down, but the total number of people standing
continues to grow, and the collective goal of the game becomes untenable.
Who gets left standing is not determined merely by chance. Some players are
fast and strong; some are impaired. Some are unpleasant and disruptive, and
others are very heavy: these players are unlikely to be invited onto an occupied
chair. Some are timid and ashamed to enlist help, or perhaps just don't know
any of the other players. Still others don't understand the rules of the game
and wander through the scene.
Visiting Professor of Law, St. Louis University (1999-2000); Professor of Law, Mercer
University School of Law. This work was supported by a Mercer University School of Law
faculty research grant. My thanks to Nateesha Gupte (St. Louis University, Class of 2001) and
Laura Bedingfield (Mercer University Class of 2002) for their help with research and ideas.
Thanks to Patsy Tye of the Mercer Law Library for help locating source material. I am grateful
to Ray Brescia, Mary Eden Hombs, and Sue Jamieson for their advocacy and for the time they
spent with me discussing these issues.

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