Dangerous conditions in child and adolescent psychiatric hospital

Chicago Tribune Deborah L. Shelton reported that experts from the University of Illinois at Chicago issued a scathing report about the dangerous conditions of pediatric and adolescent psychiatric hospital Hargrove. This report is eerily similar to the one released on March 30, 2009, slamming the conditions at Riveredge Hospital and other psychiatric facilities owned or run by Psychiatric Solutions, and to another report released in May 2011 documenting inadequate care in Lakeshore Hospital. Back in 2009 as well as in the current reports, the UIC experts reveal that the most vulnerable patient population, pediatric and adolescent psychiatric patient are subjected to sexual assaults, physical attacks, threats, and unacceptable conditions.

According to the current report between December 2010 and mid-June 2011, there were over 100 cases of children and adolescent psychiatric patients subjected to physical attacks, threatening behavior, and sexual assaults at Hartgrove. The report on psychiatric care in 2009 on Riveredge and Psychiatric Solutions identified a similar longstanding pattern of egregious quality failures, failure to protect patients from sexual abuse, failure to provide patient care in a safe environment, failure to ensure patients are adequately monitored, failure to ensure adequate staffing for patient care, failure to adequately train and supervise staff. The current report on Hartgrove paints a similarly unacceptable picture of vulnerable population placed at unacceptable risk. The reports also reveal that the hospitals are understaffed or are staffed with unqualified personnel. Most of the children in these facilities are there because they are danger to self or others and need specialized care. When the hospitals hire personnel with lack of qualifications the hospitals put the children and staff at risk. Our law firm represents victims of psychiatric and hospital negligence in cases involving sexual assaults or inadequate supervision in psychiatric facilities. Sexual assaults are usually a result of inadequate staffing, improper supervision, or failure to follow physician-ordered precautions and observation levels. Personal injuries that result from inadequate staffing are easily preventable. Keeping psychiatric patients safe should be a priority to any mental health hospital. Patient safety is a prerequisite of any therapeutic environment for a psychiatric patient. Failure to prevent assault and abuse of psychiatric patients represents gross negligence and should not be tolerated.