When The Hospital Fires the Bullet….

The 2/13/16 New York Times article “When the Hospital Fires the Bullet” tells the truly incredible story of a Houston college student who had never been in trouble and was admitted to a local inpatient psychiatric facility for symptoms of the manic phase of his bipolar disorder. In an effort to subdue this student’s classically manic behavior (dancing naked outside of his room), hospital security was called by the nursing staff. He was next shot in the chest inches from his heart by an off-duty Houston police officer moonlighting as a hospital security guard. Apparently similar incidents have occurred nationally.

“I thought of the hospital as a beacon, a safe haven,” said the 26 year old student, Alan Paen. The full story is also recounted in an episode of “This American Life” which can be listened to as the podcast “My Damned Mind.”

It is difficult to comprehend how a psychiatric hospital’s policies and procedures could go so horribly awry.

-Mark Levy MD