University Hospitals of Cleveland Psychiatric Unit Placed on Probation After Patient Abuse

The Ohio Department of Mental Health has placed University Hospitals of Cleveland's psychiatric unit on probation, following the grand jury indictment of Herman Brown, a University Hospitals employee since April of this year. Brown has been indicted on multiple counts of rape, kidnapping, gross sexual imposition, and sexual battery.

On May 18 after Brown's arrest, the hospital acknowledged the rape of one patient. But the Ohio Department of Mental Health said yesterday that four patients were sexually assaulted.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health Issued the following statement:

The state agency has put UH on probation, citing its failure to provide patient safety, staff supervision or appropriate background checks of workers. Brown had worked at the hospital since April even though prior felony convictions should have prevented him from working there. The hospital said a temporary agency that provided Brown failed to conduct a proper background check.

Ohio state law requires that those employed in a capacity such as Brown's must clear a criminal background check before offered any position. However it appears that no background check was conducted, as Brown had a felony record and should not have been offered a job under any circumstances, especially not in a situation where he would be exposed to and trusted with the care of vulnerable patients in an unstable or emotional state. The job Brown was given by University Hospitals gave him unsupervised access to the victims.

The fact that UH relied on an employment agency to conduct the background check should not absolve them of at least some responsibility in this tragic error. Both should make reasonable efforts to provide full disclosure on the situation, as well as make an effort to right the wrong already committed.

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