The UC Irvine Medical Center Neuropsychiatric Center will undergo an investigation by the California Department of Health Services after an 18-year-old patient in the youth-services neuropsychiatric center committed suicide on Dec. 14.
According to Susan Mancia, senior public information officer of the UCIMC, this is the first incident of suicide in the neuropsychiatric center’s 12-year history. The neuropsychiatric center provides both inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services, and treatment plans for its patients.
UCIMC officials were unaware of any preliminary reports of an investigation into the incident, but a call to the State Department of Health Services confirmed that there will be an investigation in the near future.
According to Mancia, the victim’s family was ‘displeased with information getting out’ about the man’s death and has declined to release any information about the man.
The UCIMC is not commenting on anything regarding the patient’s history per the family’s request.
‘The family did not want to release anything, but we’ve addressed the issues to the necessary parties,’ Mancia said.
The California Department of Health Services will assemble a team of experts in the medical field to conduct the investigation. Although it is not certain whom the team will consist of, Lea Brooks, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health Services, stated that the nature of the incident will determine who is most qualified to investigate.
‘It could be doctors, registered nurses, dieticians … it all depends on the nature of the incident,’ Brooks said.
The investigation will attempt to determine if some systems ‘broke down,’ leading to the patient’s suicide.
‘[The investigation] might find that the hospital couldn’t do anything to prevent it,’ Brooks said.
If it is determined that the hospital could have prevented such an incident, the UCIMC will be required to submit a plan of correction outlining specific changes that it will take to ensure that similar incidents will not happen again.
It is not certain how long the investigation will take, but according to Brooks it could take weeks, maybe even months.
Information regarding the investigation will not be made public until after the plan of correction is submitted.