Patient dumping lawsuit dismissed
June 24, 2014
U.S. District Court Judge James Mahan has reaffirmed his decision tossing out the lawsuit accusing Rawson-Neal psychiatric hospital in Las Vegas of patient dumping.
The suit was filed as a class action by James Brown on behalf of himself and other recent patients he claimed were involuntarily discharged and instructed to take a bus to out of state destinations. He argued that violated his constitutional rights.
Mahan disagreed stating that ruling otherwise "would place an unbearable burden on every hospital to provide a limitless amount of free care rather than 'banish' patients into the real world outside the confines of the institution."
"Clearly the Constitution does not require such a bizarre and untenable result," his order states.
He also said there's no allegation Brown was threatened with punishment or otherwise forced to go to Sacramento and there's no authority granting an individual a right to a hearing before he or she is released from state custody.
Health division Administrator Richard Whitley said he was pleased Mahan again found the hospital didn't violate Brown's rights or federal law.
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He pointed out Gov. Brian Sandoval recently ordered and the legislative Interim Finance Committee approved an additional $3.5 million to fund mental health programs in Nevada and strengthen outreach and other services to those in need.
That is in addition to the $17 million in funding added during the 2013 Legislature for the Lakes Crossing Forensic Hospital in Sparks, 21 additional beds for the Southern Nevada mental hospital and other enhanced mental health services.
The order was issued Friday.