Monday, February 25, 2008

Homeless man committed suicide in hospital

Hospital cited in patient suicide
ER fell short in monitoring a homeless man who hanged himself in Douglasville, according to a federal report.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 02/25/08

A Douglasville hospital failed to meet patient safety standards when a homeless man committed suicide in its emergency department, federal regulators have found.

The patient, evaluated as a suicide risk by WellStar Douglas Hospital staff, was not properly monitored for two hours and was then found hanging in his seclusion room, said a federal investigative report. The death occurred Oct. 31.

under the Freedom of Information Act.

Douglas Wayne Brown, 45, was in a seclusion room — typically used to manage a very agitated patient — a total of 22 hours, waiting for a transfer to another facility for treatment of alcohol and psychiatric problems, according to the report from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The report, based on an inspection by state surveyors in mid-November, does not describe whether the WellStar Douglas emergency room was crowded when the patient died.

A suicide in a hospital emergency department is extremely rare, health care officials said. Brown's death also renews questions about the capacity of general hospitals and psychiatric facilities in Georgia to handle the rising demand for mental health services.
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