Georgia keeps hospital mistakes secret, newspaper says

Facilities don't reveal worst mistakes: suicides, sex assaults, surgical errors

Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011 11:54 AM
Last updated 11:56 AM
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LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. -- The short, troubled life of Matthew Reese ended in what should have been a safe haven: the psychiatric hospital treating him for depression.

Reese, 27, was transsexual and preferred his identity as a woman: Sonya Michelle. As a man, he served prison time in his late teens after molesting a younger boy. By the time he entered SummitRidge Hospital in Lawrenceville, friends say, he was intent on taking his own life, and on Sept. 24 he hanged himself with a sheet from his hospital bed.

State officials will investigate whether mistakes by the hospital enabled Reese’s suicide. But their conclusions, and even how they conduct their inquiry, may remain forever confidential.

Reese’s death highlights a curious facet of hospital regulation in Georgia, according to an examination by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In an increasingly transparent era in health care, such data as the incidence of post-surgery infections and heart attack survival rates flood the Internet. Georgia, however, has tightened the secrecy surrounding some of the worst mistakes that occur in hospitals: patient suicides, sexual assaults and surgical errors.

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TK3 11/20/11 - 01:43 pm
And just WHO do you think

And just WHO do you think benefits from the state keeping such secrets and who pays off the Ga. politicians to make it so?
"Georgia, however, has tightened the secrecy surrounding some of the worst mistakes that occur in hospitals: patient suicides, sexual assaults and surgical errors."

mable8 11/20/11 - 01:56 pm
Said it before and say it

Said it before and say it again: Hospitals cover up a lot of what they do; who benefits? Usually the hospital because their secrets are kept from the public. Last time I wrote something negative about a hospital, someone was "offended" even though I spoke the truth...I've worked in a local hospital and know they do cover their 'errors' in patient care.

corgimom 11/20/11 - 06:31 pm
If someone really wants to

If someone really wants to commit suicide, they will. The only way you can prevent it is either put them in a straitjacket or medicate them senseless- which is truly cruel and unusual punishment. And sooner or later, you have to turn them loose.

Nobody can watch someone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The prisons can't do it, YDC can't do it, nursing homes can't do it, hospitals can't do it.

He was 27 years old. Life was just too hard for him and he led a very troubled life. There are some things in this world that can't be cured, and a person determined on committing suicide is one of them.

Willow Bailey
Willow Bailey 11/20/11 - 07:30 pm
I don't disagree with

I don't disagree with corgi's post; however, we should also keep in mind that not ALL, but MANY lives are saved because there are people who reach out to those in pain when they are at their lowest...

Many who end their lives do so because they believe they have exhausted all of their resources and that their situation is hopeless. No matter what our struggles may be or become, there is always hope.

Just as we should make ourselves familiar with CPR, we should also make ourselves aware of this subject. Learn about it; you never know when you may be the person another reaches out to.

There are a number of excellent websites on the subject, including a Christian organization where you can volunteer to take calls.

jackrussell 11/20/11 - 10:35 pm
Well said Willow.

Well said Willow.

socialworker 11/20/11 - 11:36 pm
The situation is much grimmer

The situation is much grimmer than you may imagine. Georgia's state hospital are currently opreated under the dept of justice. There were many (over 100) cases of suspicious or preventable deaths in georgia state hospitals over the past decade. Due to many circumstances including staff cuts the people who work in these hospitals are asked on a daily basis to do more with less to include taking unpaid time off (furloughs). I believe that all patient suicide and homicide deaths are entirely preventable and that there is no excuse for these types of statistics. I have worked for many years in psychiatric facilities of various types and have never known of a successful murder or suicide while on my watch. Hopefully the legislature and the taxpayers will find a solution so that this tragedy can be prevented from happening again.

Craig Spinks
Craig Spinks 11/21/11 - 03:33 am
Obviously, our "betters" in

Obviously, our "betters" in The Golden Dome and The Twin Towers are "protecting" us unwashed and unschooled from information with which we don't have the capacity to deal.

"Thanks," politicos and your lobbyist-buddies for protecting us from ourselves.

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