An investigation into the suicide of a young man at a California nursing home reveals a disturbing situation where a facility obviously ignored the man’s mental health needs.
On February 28, 2011 the patient commit suicide at Verdugo Valley Skilled Nursing and Wellness Center when he discharged a fire extinguisher into his mouth. While the incident is indeed disturbing, the man had attempted the exact same behavior on three prior occassions at the facility according to a news report in the Glendale Free Press.
The incident resulted in civil fines and against the facility and criminal charges against both the facility and administrator. The criminal charges were recently filed by State Attorney General Kamala Harris after evidence was produced in a grand jury indictment that indicated that the nursing home continually allowing the man back to their facility when the facility had no experience with mentally ill patients.
Too frequently facilities fail to acknowledge that mental illness is indeed a real condition that requires specific types of treatment by trained professionals. I am glad to see that both the grand jury and the attorney general involved in this matter recognized that the the failing to tend to the mental health of a nursing home patient is no different that ignoring a physical illness in another.
Nursing center indicted in patient death, By Veronica Rocha, Glendale Free Press, July 12, 2011