Eleven people died at St. Elizabeth's last year. With DC's history of both poor medical treatment and poor treatment for the mentally ill, it would be crazy not to assume that mismanagement and incompetence contributed to those 11 death.
Lo and behold:
In a scathing report on 11 deaths last year at the District's St. Elizabeths Hospital for the mentally ill, an advocacy group for the disabled told city officials yesterday that medical neglect resulted in "needless pain and suffering" for most of the patients "and may well have contributed to deaths from treatable conditions."
This should surprise no one. This is the city where dead fetuses* are treated like compost and retired journalists are allowed to rot in a waiting room with a gaping head wound. You think the city will treat the mentally ill any better?
It's your run of the mill stuff. A patient complains of extreme abdominal pain, nurses don't tell anyone, and the dude dies overnight of, wait for it, gangrene of the bowels.
Or the woman who suffered from Crohn's disease, chronic diarrhea, lung disease, congestive heart failure, leukocytosis, and anemia. You'd think someone in this condition would get extraordinary medical care. Nope. The hospital kept forgetting to give her a daily check-up.
Maybe the victims who were incompetenced to death got off lucky. Because many in the hospital continue to suffer.
In addition to those who died, "other patients also were the victims of staff incompetence," the report says. "One patient mistakenly received an excessive dose of his medication, resulting in a three-month hospitalization. . . . Another patient's medication was discontinued after causing serious side effects, yet it was mistakenly prescribed again.
"A third patient with multiple, serious medical conditions, including late-stage HIV disease, spent up to 25 days in medical isolation without a plan to address the extreme seclusion of being confined to his room," the report says.
Again, no one should be surprised. The District has long been unable to treat the mentally ill with adequate care or compassion. It's indefensible and disgusting. And it's par for the course for this shithole.
*My favorite post ever and my favorite comments ever.