Today, patients at Coalinga State Hospital hired an individual to protest on their behalf outside the Disability Rights California office, 1831 K Street, in Sacramento, between the hours of 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM. They are desperately seeking a state audit at the facility. (See the videos and photos below of the protest which took place on 17/5/21)
Since 2005, when Coalinga State Hospital first opened, it’s not a stretch to say that patients have been killed and/or subjected to extreme physical pain and suffering which rises to a criminal level. How else does one describe it when Administrators have only allowed patients to receive their mandatory Annual/Quarterly Physical Examinations and Reviews on a sporadic and haphazard basis?
Approximately 200+ patients have died since the facility opened its doors, however the official death count is a moving target because patients held for years who then die shortly after release, are frequently not included in official figures. Furthermore, the hospital has often not counted patients who died while out to court or being treated in an outside medical facility.
When a patient fails to receive his Annual/Quarterly Physical Examination or Review, this also means he fails to receive mandatory health screenings/testing. Hundreds of patients since 2005 have consequently been discovered with terminal cancers, or other dangerous medical/painful conditions only when they became symptomatic. In other words, they were deprived of an opportunity to have their medical conditions discovered prior to becoming terminal, or when medical interventions might have been employed to prevent the most serious form of the disease/illness which afflicted them.
At Coalinga State Hospital, medical care surrounding Annual/Quarterly Physical Examinations is governed by Administrative Directive #511. DSHABUSE.ORG has discovered several thousand staff at the facility have been silent for years about the fact that collateral documentation has never been followed regarding patient participation/non-participation in Annual/Quarterly Physical Examinations. A patient’s non-participation in Annual Exams requires special documentation of his observed physical condition for 3 days, then referral to a Treatment Team involving Psychologist, Psychiatrists and Social Workers. DSHABUSE.ORG has recently been attempting to send emails to all of the staff at Coalinga State Hospital (over 2000), about their responsibility as mandated reporters (whistleblowers), and that they could be personally liable. (A PDF version of these letters and documents are posted below)
DSHABUSE.ORG has substantiated that the practice of not giving patients Physical Exams on a consistent basis per policy is still going on as recently as within the past six weeks. Several patients have received letters from the hospital records department that they have no evidence in their file that they ever received an Annual/Quarterly Physical Exam or Review during specific timeframes. (A PDF version of these letters and documents are posted below )
Many patients in at least one Public Defender’s office have identified Physical Exam forms in patient files (form DSH-C183) which have been falsified. Doctors often claim they do not have time to do Annual/Quarterly Exams or Reviews and are apparently falsifying them and claiming they examine patients, when in fact they never saw or examined the patient.
This is a catastrophic crisis not only for the patients who are living and may ultimately be diagnosed with a terminal illness, all of this calls into question the integrity of many prior death investigations which relied upon the accuracy of the patient’s medical record. Prior death investigations are also suspect if the reviewers did not consider whether or not the cause of death may have resulted by the absence of an Annual Physical Exam as well as any required preventative health screenings/testing.
The Coalinga State Hospital police had knowledge of documents being falsified in 2019 as evidenced by police report #19112341. (This police report is attached as part of Administrative Directive #511, referenced above). On March 3, 2021, the Office of Law Enforcement Support, responded to an email from DSHABUSE.ORG stating that it was not their responsibility to investigate these matters. We disagree because OLES has oversight for hospital police operations and these abuses involving the lack of patient medical care rise to a criminal level at this point.
Disability Rights California, and the Office of Patients Rights, has also had knowledge of these matters since at least 2015 and 2017, as evidenced by letters they have authored. They also refuse to meet with patient peer leadership in 2017 and falsely claimed that the Director of Patients Rights, Michele Mudgett, was frequently visiting Coalinga State Hospital, meeting with patients and listening to their concerns. In late 2017, 12 members of the peer leadership council signed a proclamation to disband The Office of Patients Rights contract #13-70001-000. (A PDF version of these letters and documents are posted below)
On May 6, 2021, Christian Abasto, Legal Advocacy Unit Director, sent a letter to The Director of DSHABUSE.ORG, reiterating that Disability Rights California Mental Health Group, and the Investigations Unit, was not in a position currently to offer any assistance to patients at Coalinga State Hospital. This has been their mantra for the past many years, and his directive was that all complaints should be directed to The Office of Patients Rights. (A PDF version of Mr. Abasto’s letter is posted below)
DSHABUSE.ORG, responded to Christian Abasto’s letter by filing an appeal to The Disability Rights California Grievance Board. We set forth first and foremost, that it was an absurd proposition to expect The Office of Patients Rights to investigate the situation they allowed to occur. Their office has stood by while patients did not receive proper medical care since 2005, and stood by as approximately 200+ patients died on their watch.
DSHABUSE.ORG, further informed The Disability Rights California, Grievance Board, that the only remedy at this point is a full blown, unfettered audit by the State Auditor and The Legislative Analyst Office. All patient medical records and death investigations must be audited as a starting point.
The authorities in charge of Coalinga State Hospital, and The Department of State Hospitals, who have allowed this crisis to occur have abused these patients in dozens of other ways. There are recordings on the DSHABUSE YouTube channel of police and staff who have been talking about the mismanagement of Coalinga State Hospital since 2013/2014. For example, Dr. Diane Kecskes, Psychiatrist, was recorded stating that the issue of people dying and nobody caring was brought up in several doctors’ meetings, then the issue went back underground. She warned the DSHABUSE Director that if he kept digging deeper, hospital authorities would try to hurt him. (You can hear Dr. Kesckes by clicking this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX6C_0zoTH8&t=2s) Chuck Rabaut, Former Police Chief, was recorded stating that the former Executive Director was involved in criminal behavior, The Administration went “corrupt and evil”, and that he would testify in the State Senate (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwUxp9T9mhY&t=540s) Officer Pica was recorded telling the DSHABUSE Director that he should keep calling and telling people about what was happening at Coalinga, and eventually somebody would listen to him. He told him to tell the FBI to interview every staff member individually, not as a group, and they would find out what was really going on at the hospital. He also stated that he worked for the Police Officer Union and that Brandon Price, Current Executive Director, Coalinga State Hospital, did not listen to them. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnGCReE7hVc&t=150s).
DSHABUSE.ORG, is calling on Disability Rights California to act immediately on behalf of patients at Coalinga State Hospital to navigate the California State Legislature. The California State Assembly, Health Committee, needs to order appropriate audits, and hold hearings about what is going on at the facility. Patients and staff must also be called to testify via Zoom as soon as possible.
DSHABUSE.ORG, is also calling upon Disability Rights California to take actions which will protect whistleblowers at Coalinga State Hospital, which it has consistently failed to do, particularly with regard to the DSHABUSE Director who has experienced relentless retaliation for exposing this and other systemic/operational deficiencies. In a letter from Christian Abasto, May 6, 2021, he wrote “We are sorry we cannot help you. We wish you good luck”. There are many patients at Coalinga State Hospital who speak out about various forms of abuse and are subsequently terrorized/retaliated against by staff in a variety of ways and in most cases there is nobody they can call for help. There is another category of patients who never speak out because they know what would happen to them if they did.
DSHABUSE.ORG is currently reaching out to individual members of The California State Assembly, Health Committee, seeking their support and attempting to educate them on systemic and operational deficiencies issues at Coalinga State Hospital.
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