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Ex-employee of Rawson-Neal calls hospital ‘dysfunctional’

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Updated: 5/10/2013 10:28 pm
LAS VEGAS -- A state run psychiatric hospital accused of dumping patients in other states is being investigated by the federal government.

A former employee of Rawson-Neal says there are problems to expose. She worked there for several years and is giving us her viewpoint on whether patients really were dumped.

This former staffer did not to be identified, but spoke to us candidly about things she saw and did not feel comfortable about during her several years at Rawson-Neal.

“The environment was very, very dysfunctional, not just for the employees or staff members, but also very dysfunctional for the patients,” the former employee said.

The ex-employee from Rawson Neal Psychiatric Hospital has been closely paying attention to developments since former patient James Brown surfaced in Sacramento.

After Brown was bussed to Sacramento from the psychiatric hospital with no family to receive him, it sparked scrutiny from California and even from the feds. This former employee is not surprised.

“You had patients there being discharged and basically the bus tickets. They wouldn't always hop on that bus and go where they had to go. Some of those patients would sell those tickets and get the money and score drugs or whatever you want to say and they'll end up right back in the hospital,” she said.

While the state admits to 10 improper patient transfers, this ex-staffer say there were so many more. What concerned her the most is the lack of accountability, especially when dealing with patients who are unstable.

“A lot of them can't handle or function in day-to-day life. You know, it's a battle to get out of bed. It’s a battle for them to eat. So, it is like how can you trust?” she said.

But the ex-employee says there was such a focus on the budget that always dictated decisions.

“I thought it was very, to me, just selfish, just putting, basically, kicking them out early. There were some patients that would only be there a couple of days that obviously needed more care and they were really quick to discharge them and send them on their way,” the former employee said.

The one that sticks out, she said, is a woman who was suicidal and had slash marks on her arms.

“I think it was the last time I saw her. They made her stable and then she was gone and I never saw her again. And I believe a month later they told us that this patient OD'd. So it wasn't a happy ending for her at all. She didn't get the help she needed,” the former staffer said.

As Rawson-Neal moves into the future, this now former staff member says the hospital needs more doctors.

“…to help these patients: you know, more doctors. You can't have one doctor running all the units. There needs to be more of them a more doctor-patient ratio, more people with kinds hearts,” she said.

And along with the compassion she says, social workers staying in contact with the patients who are discharged.

Her chapter has closed at Rawson Neal, but she hopes a new one opens for the hospital that many depend on as a last resort.

News 3 reached out to the state Department of Health and Human Services a few times, for this report. We're still waiting for their response.



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