X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
An investigation into the death of a 39-year-old retarded patient at St. Elizabeths Hospital revealed a chain of failures that contributed to the Jan. 9 death of Mark Harris from a heart attack. Mental-health counselor Calvin Green, who restrained Harris on the floor, also may face criminal charges after the D.C. Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Harris’ death a homicide because of the restraint. The report by the D.C. Department of Mental Health’s Office of Accountability was released last week to Legal Times. The psychiatric hospital in Southeast D.C. has been plagued by problems and is under investigation by the Justice Department for substandard medical care and lax staff supervision, which already has contributed to the deaths of at least two other patients. Before his death, Harris became violent in the hospital’s Treatment Mall, where he slapped another patient and began “banging his head against a concrete wall, throwing chairs, and pulling the fire alarm,” the report states. The incident occurred during a 3 p.m. shift change, so few staff were present when Green took Harris to the floor and laid on top of him. Green sent an emergency alert, but no staff responded, and two female employees who were present didn’t offer to help, the report states. After a second call, some medical staff arrived, but no one had a key for the nearest closet containing oxygen. Another oxygen tank didn’t work, and a nursing assistant told investigators there wasn’t a defibrillator at the scene. Green, who is on administrative leave, told investigators “the process was taking too long . . . . That can become a life-threatening situation.” Green couldn’t be reached for comment last week. Mental Health Department Director Stephen Baron says Harris’ death was “a terribly tragic situation for everybody” and represented “a convergence of a lot of bad things all at the same time.” Baron admits the hospital’s restraint policy “probably wasn’t followed as it should have been.” Patrick Canavan, who was appointed chief of St. Elizabeths in January, says changes have been made to ensure proper medical equipment is available and employees are trained on the proper use of restraints. Baron says the department is close to a settlement with the Justice Department, including benchmarks for needed improvements, to avoid a civil-rights lawsuit filed on behalf of patients.
Brendan Smith can be contacted at [email protected].

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.