VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WVEC) – The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services has recommended changes at a psychiatric center after a patient escaped last summer.
On July 4, police responded to the Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center on a report that a patient escaped staff.
Months later, a new two-page investigative report from the state says the man was sitting in a fenced in courtyard during lunchtime.
He had outdoor privileges and escaped while seven patients were being supervised by one staff member, paperwork says.
The man was found three days later at his brother’s house, unharmed.
The incident had neighbors on edge after they heard the patient had a previous run-in with police.
“I see something going wrong here,” said a neighbor who did not want to be identified. “I see no excuse.”
In an email to state officials, the center claimed the patient’s case was not as serious as previously reported and he was no hard to himself or others.
Regardless, the state recommended a citation for inadequate staffing, a re-evaluation of its client to staff ratio during outdoor activities and instituting a form of communication device to decrease emergency response time.
In an email, state official told 13News Now the center has until October 6 to appeal the decision.
The CEO of the hospital, Jennifer Kelly, said the center plans to fight the decision:
We are in receipt of the state’s action plan following their investigation pertaining to the patient elopement in July, and are in the process of contesting it, as we contend that staffing levels were appropriate for the treatment area in question.