Back in September after hearing of the death of homeless fixture Hayok Kay from a savage beating, we pieced together this post of what was known about her. Oakland resident and freelance L.A. Times reporter Lee Romney digs deeper into the life of Kay and paints a touching portrait of her life story. From her immigration to S.F. from Toyko, to her struggles with drugs and alcohol and life spent in and out of shelters – to the horrific details of her beating in front of CVS.
The piece details her final hours at Highland Hospital’s intensive-care unit, where Documentary film maker and friend Amir Soltani is appointed her surrogate and he makes the tough decision to remove her from life support. Kay died on August 18th, six weeks after she was beaten.
Kay’s ashes were scattered into the San Francisco Bay after visits to the graves of her father and longtime companion Fred Griffing.
‘Miss Kay,’ broken by loss, finds love and care at life’s end
A small, stuffed pink elephant rests in the crook of Hayok Kay’s arm. A ventilator tube snakes down her throat. After 61 years, her life has come to this: Bleeding on both sides of the brain. A broken nose, eye socket and ribs. A punctured lung. And, beneath all that damage, cancer.
Patients like Kay arrive often at Alameda County’s public hospital and trauma center, unable to make their own care decisions. Many have lived on the streets for years. Once they’re stabilized, the search begins — for estranged family members, or for a “surrogate,” someone who knows what they might have wanted at the end.
Those with no one have a label in the literature of medical ethics: “The unbefriended.”
But “Miss Kay,” 4 feet 10 and shy of 100 pounds, with a big heart and a foul mouth, was anything but.
Read More on LATimes.com →
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In Utah they’ve simply given housing to the homeless. Homed, they use far less emergency services, and their housing is far less expensive than had been their care. They don’t become homeless due to continued drinking. Let’s support housing for the homeless in Emeryville and throughout the East Bay.
We absolutely need to learn from where others have succeeded. I can’t say the Utah solution can be templated everywhere but at this point I’m down to try something radical.