Psychiatric hospital union pres.: state dropped ball

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) – The president of the employees union at the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital is bringing forward new allegations in an assault case.

Sixteen employees could face charges for allegedly assaulting a patient 19 times.

The union president, George White, is claiming the state never investigated his concerns for safety involving the same patient that is now at the center of the criminal case.

The patient, Michael Rowley, received a broken arm and knocked out teeth from altercations at the psychiatric hospital. Now, staff could be facing criminal charges.

However, White and other employees say it’s the state that should be in trouble.

White shared emails with 24 Hour News 8 that show he shared concerns about the care of Rowley back in early May.

In an email to the hospital and state officials he says, “Staff are on edge and it could became a very dangerous situation.”

The state responded to the email a few days later saying an investigation was underway.

White says that investigation happened a month later when Rowley had a broken arm.

“It is possible that there was an investigation that started that you weren’t aware of or other staff wasn’t aware of? We were the primary witnesses on the investigations, none of us were questioned,” White said.

The State Department of Community Health responded Tuesday to that allegation writing in part, “The department took immediate action as soon as we became aware of issues of patient neglect and abuse. The initial investigation began in May 2014 after issues were brought to our attention which led to leadership changes to improve the quality of patient care, as well as changes to ensure appropriate patient treatment plans.”

The Director of Nursing was also dismissed in June by the department, and the former Director of KPH resigned that same month.

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