The New York Times (5/28, A24, Chan) reports, "New York City has agreed to pay $2 million to the family of a woman who died last year on the floor of the psychiatric [emergency department (ED)] at Kings County Hospital after waiting more than 24 hours to be treated." In doing so, "the city's Health and Hospitals Corporation accepted full responsibility for the death of the woman...and said it had taken steps to relieve crowding and increase the size of the staff to provide mental health services at the hospital." A February 2009 report from the federal Department of Justice "that found, among other problems, that patients were not treated for suicidal behavior, were routinely subdued with physical restraints and drugs instead of receiving individualized psychiatric treatment, and were abused by other patients."
The AP (5/28, Matthews) notes that the "report became public when Alan Aviles, president of the city's Health and Hospitals Corp., announced reforms at the hospital including the replacement of its top two administrators and the addition of 200 medical personnel." He explained that "the improvements would shorten the average time patients wait in the psychiatric [ED] to eight hours, down from 27 hours."
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