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The Doctors discuss the reported 100 preventable deaths in Los Angeles psychiatric hospitals in the last decade and share the story of one of those victims, Julian St. John, son of "The Young and the Restless" star Kristoff St. John and his wife Mia.
In his late teens, Julian was diagnosed with schizophrenia, followed by a battle with drug addiction. At 24, while high on meth and off his medication, he jumped into traffic. His mom placed him in a psychiatric hospital, where she feels there were troubling signs from the start, including the presence of plastic bags in his room, which Julian used to take his life. After the death of Julian, Mia says her husband spiraled and his drinking intensified. The actor died of heart disease, which alcohol reportedly contributed to.
Mia tells us she feels the facility where her son was being treated committed numerous errors, including not performing mandatory checks, allowing the presence of dangerous objects, and not giving Julian is medication.
"If he was on his anti-psychotic, he would have never taken his life," Mia tells The Doctors. She adds, "I just kept thinking how preventable [his death] was... there were so many errors."
Clinical psychologist Dr. Judy Ho says Julian's tragic story highlights what many patients, unfortunately, experience, noting the lack of staff and number beds available to people who need treatment.
John Snook, the executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center, says these types of deaths are usually due to a lack of resources and oversight issues, and he also notes that 80 percent of available beds in treatment centers since the 1980s have been lost. He says the key to solving these issues is more funding for mental health from the federal level.
Find out more about the Mia St. John Foundation.
The Doctors reached out to the facility Julian was being treated and they said in a statement:
As the largest Mental Health Rehabilitation Center (MHRC) in California, La Casa MHRC takes patient safety very seriously. Any suicide is devastating for the individual, their loved ones and our entire community, and we extend our deepest sympathies to all affected by such tragedies.
While there have been no recurrences at La Casa since 2014, any suicide is unacceptable. We recognize the imperative of persistent vigilance to keep all persons safe while in our care. That is why La Casa has implemented suicide screening, assessment and monitoring protocols consistent with the Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goal guidelines and current best practices. We also constantly monitor any advancement in the field of suicide prevention so that we can incorporate new learning.
In cooperation with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, La Casa has successfully treated thousands of patients with complex mental illnesses for more than 30 years. Since 2003, La Casa has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). It has also been continuously licensed by the California Department of Health Care Services since its opening in 1988.
Telecare Corporation is required to regularly and comprehensively report data related to the performance of La Casa and other facilities and programs operated by Telecare. This information is available to patients, their families and the public. Telecare supports reasonable proposals that make such information easier for all to access.
Telecare also supports proposals that are consistent with patient confidentiality and that will increase reporting transparency of a broader range of quality indicators -- not just regarding patient deaths – that affirm the fact that the vast majority of those with mental illness do recover.
For more information on mental health: