This story is just a horrible tragedy. I read this article with much sadness, but with no surprise.
This story depicts the truth of our mental health system. But contrary to the opinions of the people interviewed, I’m not sure that anyone “dropped the ball” here.
He was in jail for domestic violence and was sent from there to become an involuntary inpatient at a psychiatric facility. Once there, he was diagnosed and treated. He was given a prescription for his medications and released.
How is that different from any other type of hospitalization? You go, you get treated, and you go home with your prescriptions. Who dropped what ball?
The only real difference is that this patient was dangerous to himself and others–remember the domestic violence charges? I am sure that is not the first and only violence he has been charged with before.
My question, after reading this article, is what do people think should be done with these cases? There is no funding for any long-term treatment–hence the seven day treatment allowance.
What should have been done differently? Who is to pay for long term care? This is the reality of our current economic problems. Mental health budgets are being sliced to the bone all around the world in an effort to find money for other things. The only thing wrong with this solution is that the mentally ill are real and they are people who lead real lives and those lives frequently intersect, sometimes violently, with other real people.
By Kim Russell
Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 4:53 p.m.
The defense attorney for the man accused of killing 4-year-old Dominick Calhoun in Argentine Township earlier this month shared chilling details of 24-year-old Brandon Hayes’ mental health history in court.
“Just six to eight weeks ago is when he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia,” attorney James Piazza told Judge John Conover in Genesee County’s 67th District Court Tuesday.
Piazza says a social worker at a jail where Hayes was lodged in March for domestic violence requested he be admitted for involuntary psychiatric treatment. He was then ordered to receive at least seven days of treatment at a psychiatric hospital where he received the diagnosis.
Piazza says doctors wrote Hayes a prescription when he was released from jail, but he could not afford to fill it. He says someone should have followed up on his condition, given the diagnosis.
Family members of 4-year-old Dominick Calhoun reacted with visible surprise. They say it seems as if there should have been follow-up.
Hayes’ defense attorney agrees.
“He’s diagnosed like that, and then just released,” says Piazza. “You know, somebody dropped the ball somewhere.”
The defense asked that Hayes be given a forensic exam to determine whether he is competent to stand trial. The prosecution agreed that was necessary.
Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton says the public should know, this evaluation will help make sure a future guilty verdict is not thrown out.
“I think it is in the interest of the justice system, as well as in the interest of justice for Dominick Calhoun that we take necessary steps and make sure everything is covered,” said Leyton.
The forensic exam could take up to two months to complete.
Here’s the link to the original article.
Here’s a follow up to the above story:
Unfortunately, our laws are really poor when it comes to protecting wives and children from spouses and fathers.
“When you fight so hard to keep someone alive,” says Baker in tears. “And then be blamed for it…”
Police had locked her up as the investigated the brutal killing of her son, 4-year-old Dominick Calhoun. She learned he had been pronounced dead on the news.
Police say the little boy had been beaten so extensively he suffered injuries to his entire body.
Baker says her boyfriend is responsible. He is still in the Genesee County Jail, while she has been released. He has not been charged.
Sources say the man started torturing the boy after he wet his pants, burning his little hands.
Baker says she wanted to take Dominick to the hospital for treatment, but her boyfriend didn’t want to get in trouble.
She says he held her and her son hostage, brutally beating them.
“I was screaming,” says Baker. “Screaming at the top of my lungs, and nothing… and no, no hope inside. I thought I was going to die.”
Neighbors tell NBC25 they heard her screams, but they didn’t want to get involved in a domestic dispute. They say they didn’t realize how bad the situation was.
“Everytime I’d go to Dominick he’d rip me off him, and I’d go back and try to protect him as best I could.”
Baker says she laid on top of her child to shield him from her boyfriend’s brutality. She suffered broken bones, bruises, and cigarette burns. She says she was in and out of consciousness.
Her 8-year-old son witnessed some of the terror before being sent out of the apartment. He now is in protective custody.
Baker says she wants her older son to know she is thinking of him. She wants him back in her custody.
She says she will focus on healing so she can fight for her surviving child, and for justice for a boy killed too young.
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