State officials on Wednesday confirmed reports that surveyors with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment were dispatched last week to Osawatomie State Hospital, and that the surveyors in turn summoned the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
Sara Belfry, a KDHE spokesperson, said the nature of the surveyors’ concerns will not be made public until after survey findings are reviewed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a process that’s likely to take several days.
On Thursday's Central Standard, we looked back at the history of intervention in mental health crises, going all the way back to the 19th century.
The Glore Psychiatric Museum (formerly known as State Lunatic Asylum #2) captures both the treatments of the past and the controversies they sparked. Treatments in mental health hospitals once ranged from a "bath of surprise," which disrupted thought-patterns by dropping the patient into a shockingly cold bath, to lobotomies and fever cabinets.
Every day, police in the Kansas City metro area are inundated with calls to handle mental illness emergencies.
"Usually more than one time a day,” says Don Ash, sheriff of Wyandotte County, Kan. “Calls could come in from a family member. Calls could come in from the general public. From a business owner.”
Someone might be picked up for something as simple as loitering or trespassing, and even though it might clearly a mental health emergency, police typically have little choice but to take them to jail or possibly an emergency room.
Tia Giles is pregnant, she’s also suffering from a mental illness and her husband Lance must make the difficult decision of committing her to a mental institution to save the baby, his wife and their marriage.