82 patient die in North Carolina psychiatric hospitals since '00....

  1. this was in my paper today. i am not suprised to say the least. i did my clinicals at one of these hospitals mentioned. and as they are consolidating the two hospitals around here to just one, alot of these mentally ill patients are being sent out to group homes, families that don't want them or half-way houses....it makes me really sad and scared for them at the same time.


    Patients die from poor care; families don't hear full story

    Since December 2000, at least 82 patients have died in ways that raise questions, including homicides and suicides


    Michael Biesecker and Brooke Cain, Staff Writers
    Janella Williams begged her mother never to send her back to Cherry Hospital.

    Having struggled with paranoid schizophrenia since her late teens, Williams, 35, had been admitted to the state-run mental institution in Goldsboro 18 times. After a five-month stay, she was discharged in March 2005 to her family home in rural Beaufort County with a cast on her leg.
    Williams told her mother the staff had broken her bone while restraining her, though her official medical file offers no explanation for the fracture other than to say it was the result of a "twist."
    "She said, 'Cala, I don't want to go back to Goldsboro,' " remembered Calvin Williams, Janella's mother. "She said, 'If I go back to Goldsboro, they're going to kill me.' "
    On her 19th admission to Cherry Hospital, Janella's prediction came true.
    She was one of at least 537 patients of the state's 14 mental institutions who have died since December 2000. Most died of natural causes, but a News & Observer investigation shows that 82 of those patients died under circumstances that raise questions: homicides, suicides, accidents, inadequate treatment or mistakes.

    Full story: http://www.newsobserver.com/2771/story/976809.html
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    19 Comments

  3. by   GingerSue
    yes this is sad
    where to find answers to the questions?
  4. by   psychnurse1998
    Quote from flightnurse2b
    this was in my paper today. i am not suprised to say the least. i did my clinicals at one of these hospitals mentioned. and as they are consolidating the two hospitals around here to just one, alot of these mentally ill patients are being sent out to group homes, families that don't want them or half-way houses....it makes me really sad and scared for them at the same time.


    Patients die from poor care; families don't hear full story

    Since December 2000, at least 82 patients have died in ways that raise questions, including homicides and suicides


    Michael Biesecker and Brooke Cain, Staff Writers
    Janella Williams begged her mother never to send her back to Cherry Hospital.

    Having struggled with paranoid schizophrenia since her late teens, Williams, 35, had been admitted to the state-run mental institution in Goldsboro 18 times. After a five-month stay, she was discharged in March 2005 to her family home in rural Beaufort County with a cast on her leg.
    Williams told her mother the staff had broken her bone while restraining her, though her official medical file offers no explanation for the fracture other than to say it was the result of a "twist."
    "She said, 'Cala, I don't want to go back to Goldsboro,' " remembered Calvin Williams, Janella's mother. "She said, 'If I go back to Goldsboro, they're going to kill me.' "
    On her 19th admission to Cherry Hospital, Janella's prediction came true.
    She was one of at least 537 patients of the state's 14 mental institutions who have died since December 2000. Most died of natural causes, but a News & Observer investigation shows that 82 of those patients died under circumstances that raise questions: homicides, suicides, accidents, inadequate treatment or mistakes.

    Full story: http://www.newsobserver.com/2771/story/976809.html

    Sad story. I have worked in a county mental faciility in California. Patients have a patients right phone number, posted where they can report abuse. I am happy to say . that from my observations, patients were well protected from abuse. North Carolina seems to be still back in the 50's era. That is too bad, some states are far behind in progress.
  5. by   elkpark
    Quote from psychnurse1998
    Sad story. I have worked in a county mental faciility in California. Patients have a patients right phone number, posted where they can report abuse. I am happy to say . that from my observations, patients were well protected from abuse. North Carolina seems to be still back in the 50's era. That is too bad, some states are far behind in progress.
    I beg your pardon. :uhoh21: I'm in NC and have worked in public mental health and for the state and federal government as a psychiatric hospital surveyor. I was, for several years, part of a specialty psychiatric surveying team that was created in 2000 in response to the original reports in The Charlotte Observer about deaths in psychiatric hospitals prior to 2000.

    The NC public mental health system has had, for many years, a more aggressive client rights program than most states, in addition to enforcing the federally-mandated client rights, and the state hospital system has an aggressive "Client Advocate" program, with (multiple) advocates serving in each state hospital (that's in addition to the investigations and oversight my team carried out). Yes, the toll-free state complaints "hotline" number is prominently posted in every public or private psychiatric unit in the state, and my team investigated every complaint we received and every death in a psychiatric setting (public or private hospitals) in the state. I believe that one of the main reasons there is more "news" and publicity about problems in mental health settings in NC is because we are more open and aggressive about addressing them than many other states are.

    Our system is not perfect, granted -- but I would bet a great deal of money that it's not much different from the CA system, and conditions (and outcomes) at state facilities in CA are not much different/better than those in state facilities in NC. I have worked in a county mental health inpatient center in NC in the past, and conditions there were much different (better) than they were/are in the state hospitals. If you haven't had first-hand experience with a state psychiatric hospital, you don't really appreciate how difficult and challenging the conditions are. How many people die annually in state hospitals in CA, do you know? Under what circumstances? Is that information available to the public, as it is in NC?

    I notice that many people in CA often seem to feel superior and condescending toward the rest of the US, but I assure you that North Carolina is not "back in the '50s era," in mental health or in any other area of civic/public life.
  6. by   psychnurse1998
    Quote from elkpark
    I beg your pardon. :uhoh21: I'm in NC and have worked in public mental health and for the state and federal government as a psychiatric hospital surveyor. I was, for several years, part of a specialty psychiatric surveying team that was created in 2000 in response to the original reports in The Charlotte Observer about deaths in psychiatric hospitals prior to 2000.

    The NC public mental health system has had, for many years, a more aggressive client rights program than most states, in addition to enforcing the federally-mandated client rights, and the state hospital system has an aggressive "Client Advocate" program, with (multiple) advocates serving in each state hospital (that's in addition to the investigations and oversight my team carried out). Yes, the toll-free state complaints "hotline" number is prominently posted in every public or private psychiatric unit in the state, and my team investigated every complaint we received and every death in a psychiatric setting (public or private hospitals) in the state. I believe that one of the main reasons there is more "news" and publicity about problems in mental health settings in NC is because we are more open and aggressive about addressing them than many other states are.

    Our system is not perfect, granted -- but I would bet a great deal of money that it's not much different from the CA system, and conditions (and outcomes) at state facilities in CA are not much different/better than those in state facilities in NC. I have worked in a county mental health inpatient center in NC in the past, and conditions there were much different (better) than they were/are in the state hospitals. If you haven't had first-hand experience with a state psychiatric hospital, you don't really appreciate how difficult and challenging the conditions are. How many people die annually in state hospitals in CA, do you know? Under what circumstances? Is that information available to the public, as it is in NC?

    I notice that many people in CA often seem to feel superior and condescending toward the rest of the US, but I assure you that North Carolina is not "back in the '50s era," in mental health or in any other area of civic/public life.
    You raise a good point, I havent worked in a state mental hospital, and if they are in the same level or worse than NC, thats a shame for both states. I wouldnt be surprised if the same cover ups take place. I hope the exposure NC is getting now, spreads to where ever similar abuse is taking place. Thanks to this website, I learned about this article relating to NC. Perhaps someone that has worked or is working in a Calif. state mental hospital could share their experiences.
  7. by   RedZeppelinRN
    Quote from elkpark
    I beg your pardon. :uhoh21: I'm in NC and have worked in public mental health and for the state and federal government as a psychiatric hospital surveyor. I was, for several years, part of a specialty psychiatric surveying team that was created in 2000 in response to the original reports in The Charlotte Observer about deaths in psychiatric hospitals prior to 2000.

    The NC public mental health system has had, for many years, a more aggressive client rights program than most states, in addition to enforcing the federally-mandated client rights, and the state hospital system has an aggressive "Client Advocate" program, with (multiple) advocates serving in each state hospital (that's in addition to the investigations and oversight my team carried out). Yes, the toll-free state complaints "hotline" number is prominently posted in every public or private psychiatric unit in the state, and my team investigated every complaint we received and every death in a psychiatric setting (public or private hospitals) in the state. I believe that one of the main reasons there is more "news" and publicity about problems in mental health settings in NC is because we are more open and aggressive about addressing them than many other states are.

    Our system is not perfect, granted -- but I would bet a great deal of money that it's not much different from the CA system, and conditions (and outcomes) at state facilities in CA are not much different/better than those in state facilities in NC. I have worked in a county mental health inpatient center in NC in the past, and conditions there were much different (better) than they were/are in the state hospitals. If you haven't had first-hand experience with a state psychiatric hospital, you don't really appreciate how difficult and challenging the conditions are. How many people die annually in state hospitals in CA, do you know? Under what circumstances? Is that information available to the public, as it is in NC?

    I notice that many people in CA often seem to feel superior and condescending toward the rest of the US, but I assure you that North Carolina is not "back in the '50s era," in mental health or in any other area of civic/public life.
    I worked at a Nursing home/rehab center that has more than one "National Watch lists." I suspected the deaths that occurred there, perhaps some were not accounted for. Such as the death of a dementia patient who had a bloody and dirty PICC line that had not been changed for over 2 weeks. I called a supervisor and told her the line was even patent. She forced a needle into it and opened the line and started infusing the antibiotic. I was called back and was told the line had not been set right by me. I know that was not true. After calling the State about this and other things, I was fired. I had talked to a nurse I still knew about about a couple weeks later and she said he said. I suspected it was either sepsis or a clot. The nurse retracted her story and said he was transferred. How do I know that?

    Red

    How many patients do they do autopsies on? I guess they had to do an autopsy on a woman patient that was given Coumadin 23 days without any labs being drawn and she died of a massive brain hemorrhage after she got to the hospital.
  8. by   elkpark
    Quote from RedZeppelinRN
    I worked at a Nursing home/rehab center that has more than one "National Watch lists." I suspected the deaths that occurred there, perhaps some were not accounted for. Such as the death of a dementia patient who had a bloody and dirty PICC line that had not been changed for over 2 weeks. I called a supervisor and told her the line was even patent. She forced a needle into it and opened the line and started infusing the antibiotic. I was called back and was told the line had not been set right by me. I know that was not true. After calling the State about this and other things, I was fired. I had talked to a nurse I still knew about about a couple weeks later and she said he said. I suspected it was either sepsis or a clot. The nurse retracted her story and said he was transferred. How do I know that?

    Red

    How many patients do they do autopsies on? I guess they had to do an autopsy on a woman patient that was given Coumadin 23 days without any labs being drawn and she died of a massive brain hemorrhage after she got to the hospital.
    Since you quoted my post, I assume you are somehow directing your comments at me, but it's unclear what you're asking me, or why. The original article and this discussion were about deaths in state psychiatric hospitals in NC. I have no opinions about, and certainly take no responsibility for, anything that occurs in a LTC facility; I'm sure anything and everything does go on in those places! Are you even talking about a facility in NC?
  9. by   RedZeppelinRN
    Quote from elkpark
    Since you quoted my post, I assume you are somehow directing your comments at me, but it's unclear what you're asking me, or why. The original article and this discussion were about deaths in state psychiatric hospitals in NC. I have no opinions about, and certainly take no responsibility for, anything that occurs in a LTC facility; I'm sure anything and everything does go on in those places! Are you even talking about a facility in NC?
    So sorry I screwed up this message. I tried to edit it without success. Yes. The facility is in a very affluent area of CA.

    What I was trying to say, I wonder how many deaths go on in general in different facilities. I was thinking of an anology where I worked in a nursing,rehab facility. There was a dementia patient that had a very dirty and bloody PICC line that was not changed in more than 2 weeks. It was not even patent. The supervisor jabbed a needle in the line and opened it. One of the nurses told me that he had died a couple of weeks later and I said it was probably from sepsis or a clot. The next time I saw her she said he was transferred. I didn't believe it.

    I was just saying that things happen not just in psychiatric state hospitals. I was wondering in general when these vulnerable patients died if they did autopies on them, or did most of them die without knowing what they died of. I have seen very bad things in places I have worked.

    Sorry my edits were so screwy.

    Red
  10. by   leslie :-D
    there's not a doubt in my mind, there are (too) many deaths r/t negligence.
    doesn't matter what type of facility, or what part of town.
    it happens: they're covered up and life goes on.
    it boggles the mind, what 'we' as healthcare workers, get away with.

    leslie
  11. by   elkpark
    Quote from RedZeppelinRN
    So sorry I screwed up this message. I tried to edit it without success. Yes. The facility is in a very affluent area of CA.

    What I was trying to say, I wonder how many deaths go on in general in different facilities. I was thinking of an anology where I worked in a nursing,rehab facility. There was a dementia patient that had a very dirty and bloody PICC line that was not changed in more than 2 weeks. It was not even patent. The supervisor jabbed a needle in the line and opened it. One of the nurses told me that he had died a couple of weeks later and I said it was probably from sepsis or a clot. The next time I saw her she said he was transferred. I didn't believe it.

    I was just saying that things happen not just in psychiatric state hospitals. I was wondering in general when these vulnerable patients died if they did autopies on them, or did most of them die without knowing what they died of. I have seen very bad things in places I have worked.

    Sorry my edits were so screwy.

    Red
    That's okay; makes more sense to me now.

    State law defines the circumstances under which deaths are considered "coroner's cases" and automatically require an autopsy, and families can always request (and get) an autopsy. The CMS rules (for participation in M'care/M'caid) for acute care hospitals require hospitals to offer autopsies to families (but that rule only applies to acute care hospitals; I don't know about CMS rules for other types of facilities). I'm sure, though, that there are many "suspicious" deaths, in all different types of facilities, that never get investigated. I have seen lots of sad, scary things happen over the years, too.
  12. by   RedZeppelinRN
    Quote from elkpark
    That's okay; makes more sense to me now.

    State law defines the circumstances under which deaths are considered "coroner's cases" and automatically require an autopsy, and families can always request (and get) an autopsy. The CMS rules (for participation in M'care/M'caid) for acute care hospitals require hospitals to offer autopsies to families (but that rule only applies to acute care hospitals; I don't know about CMS rules for other types of facilities). I'm sure, though, that there are many "suspicious" deaths, in all different types of facilities, that never get investigated. I have seen lots of sad, scary things happen over the years, too.
    Thanks for the info.

    Red
  13. by   elkpark
    You're very welcome.
  14. by   CHATSDALE
    i have worked in a ltc facility which had mostly mental pts and the pts got in fierce fights with each other and could cause injuries
    i have seen staff members get hit, kicked, bitten by pts
    you should get combat pay to work in places like that, i have reported people who i felt did not treat the patients with respect but i have never seen actual harm done by staff members

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