psychiatric-facilityIn June of 2014, twenty-seven year old Tuarus McNair, a mental patient at Treasure Coast Forensic Treatment Center, was punched repeatedly in the head by another patient during a fight.

The hospital workers’ response to this brutal attack was unbelievable. Instead of merely separating the two men, attendants gave McNair an enormous dose of an antipsychotic drug (Thorazine) and led him to his room.

When hospital workers checked on him later, his heart had stopped.

Despite clear evidence of a Thorazine overdose (he was given 10 times the recommended amount), medical examiner Dr. Roger Mittleman blamed McNair’s death on a rare heart malfunction that can strike drug abusers or athletes. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) ruled McNair’s death was “natural.”

McNair’s Mother searches for the Truth

Mrs. McNair, who spent 15 months attempting to get to the truth behind her son’s death states, “If they get away doing it with my son, it could be your daughter next time, your son, your mom or your dad that they get away with it.”

The anguished mother says “I just want someone to tell me what happened to my baby.”

Last March Mrs. McNair arranged to pick up her son’s medical records. She arrived with a reporter and was met by two security guards in company with Enza Abbate, the hospital’s risk manager.

Abbate, who must surely have a heart of stone, told Mrs. McNair “You’ll be getting a letter from our corporate office. This conversation is over.”

The grieving mother was ordered to leave. She never did get any records from the hospital. Mrs. McNair states, “My son is dead and no one will tell me what happened.”

Forty two year old Man Killed at another Florida State Mental Hospital

Another victim was 42 year old Luis Santana, who died at South Florida State Hospital in Pembroke Pines. His caretakers thought he was having a psychotic episode, and gave him five powerful drugs to “calm him down.” They left him in a bathtub that reached temperatures of 118 degrees, causing his skin to peel off when workers eventually attempted to revive him.

The fact that hospital attendants were to check on him every 15 minutes, and neglected to do so, can only be found in sealed reports. To make things worse, the names of the employees in charge of his misguided care were also deemed secret.

The state’s wall of silence and secrecy concerning its mental hospitals has created a deadly and dangerous situation where tracking neglect and abuse is difficult, if not impossible.

Psychiatric Hospitals Above the Law?

Reporters from the Times/Herald-Tribune have looked into injuries at six of Florida’s mental institutions. Information regarding the incidents has not been forthcoming. Deaths have been classified as natural even though neglect and mistakes by employees contributed to or caused the fatalities.

Well-meaning but misguided state officials feel the solution to the neglect and abuse rampant in these psychiatric houses of horror is providing them with additional funding.

But throwing more money at a profession unable to scientifically diagnose or cure a single mental disorder is a recipe for disaster. The tortures of electroconvulsive therapy, psychiatric brain operations and permanently disabling antipsychotic drugs should be outlawed, not funded by the taxpayer.

The truly insane need gentle treatment in a safe environment, not manhandling by brutal attendants armed with hypodermic needles.

To read the full investigative reports, please click on these links: