November 27, 2011
Investigators delving into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of two patients at the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup last month are likely to find there are no quick fixes for the state's troubled maximum-security mental hospital. Staff morale has collapsed, a climate of fear has gripped the institution, and it may take the Perkins community years to recover a sense of normalcy. The fact that the victims were killed by two of their fellow patients has renewed concerns over safety that were raised by the 2010 killing of a mentally ill female patient under similar circumstances.
November 24, 2011
Thank you for your coverage of the increasing violence at the Clifton T. Perkins state mental hospital ("Perkins patients tough to treat: Shift from hospital care mean many have prison experience," Nov. 21). I have been watching a similar set of cases in the California state mental hospital system and these may point to where Perkins is going unless it resolves its staffing issues quickly. In October 2010, nurse Donna Gross was murdered at Napa State Hospital. She had taken a patient outside the building to another unit when she was strangled.
November 16, 2011
The trial of a former longtime nurse accused of assaulting a patient at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center began Wednesday, against the backdrop of two recent homicides and internal reviews of the state's maximum-security psychiatric hospital. Rita Ward, 56, is charged with injuring Lori Shilling, a 25-year-old woman who, because of mental health problems, was found not criminally responsible for her part in a 2008 robbery in Prince George's County. Ward maintained her innocence on the witness stand.
April 3, 2011
I felt just terrible Monday morning, March 24th, as I drove to work, listening to Linda Raines, executive director of the Mental Health Association of Maryland, and Lori Doyle, chief operating officer of Mosaic Community Services, Inc., on WYPR's Maryland Morning radio program talking about the proposed cuts to the mental health budget. I have been a community psychiatrist for 20 years and have seen services to my patients shrink for the last 15 years, as the money to the Maryland Public Mental Health System has shrunk each year.
March 29, 2011
I am the current president of the Community Behavioral Health Association of Maryland (CBH), a group of long established, mission-driven providers of community mental health care to the poorest and neediest Maryland citizens. I was pleased to read your editorial comment ("The General Assembly's to-do list," March 27 ) supporting an increase in alcohol tax. You note — correctly — that the dime-a drink proposal was to provide funds for mental health care; however, the bill on the table now — SB 994 — raises less money, raises it more slowly, and, most importantly, does not fund those distressed though deserving programs.
September 27, 2010
A patient at the Clifton T. Perkins mental hospital in Jessup is being charged with murder after another patient was found dead in her room Sunday morning with a string tied around her neck, state police investigators said. Maryland State Police are expected to charge El Soundani El-Wahhabi, also known as Saladin Taylor, in the death of Susan Sachs, 45, also a patient at Perkins. Sachs was found face down in her bed about 8:30 a.m. by a nurse who went to check on her after she didn't show up for breakfast.