Opinion / Editorial: Mental Deaths Need Study | editorial staff


At least seven of these deaths were apparently related to COVID.

25 deaths – 40% of the state’s total – were attributed to just one facility, the Piedmont Geriatric Hospital. Certainly retirement homes and geriatric facilities across the country saw a noticeable increase in deaths during the pandemic.

However, Piedmont reported that only seven of its 25 deaths were “due to COVID” or coincided with it.

However, if COVID was the proven or suspected cause of seven deaths and those seven are removed from the 62 total, the state’s numbers look less alarming. The total would drop to 55, which is the same as the decrease in 2019.

But while 2020 results may look better in this scenario, the DLCV sees a longer-term trend.

“[W]We think there have been inappropriate medical recordings for years, ”executive director Colleen Miller told The Mercury.

“Inappropriate” in this case does not mean that the patients should not have been admitted. This means that they should have been admitted to a better equipped facility.

These are patients with serious illnesses and mental health problems. State hospitals are not equipped to provide complex medical care. When such care is needed, they work with outside providers – a system that has been disrupted by COVID as many practitioners curtailed their practices.

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