Allegations of fatal missteps at DC psychiatric hospital lead to calls for change

A psychiatric hospital in Northwest D.C. is at the center of an investigation that details allegations of abuse and neglect at the facility, including the death of a patient.

The report, released by the advocacy group Disability Rights DC, found “very disturbing specific and systemic failures” at the Psychiatric Institute of Washington.

The report comes after a man died at the facility in April of 2020, alleging that “staff failed to properly assess him, failed to perform CPR and failed to provide any potentially lifesaving measures for at least 21 minutes.”

It also said reports to city agencies weren’t properly investigated. In a statement to The Washington Post, D.C.’s health and behavioral health departments said:

“We conduct rigorous investigations of patient abuse allegations and require appropriate quality improvements and accountability.”

The report also detailed physical and sexual assaults at the facility that were not investigated.

Advocates recommend that Psychiatric Institute of Washington put together a corrective action plan and called on city agencies to increase oversight.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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