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Deaths Investigated at South Florida State Hospital

Posted on July 31, 2012

The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) has reviewed South Florida State Hospital in response to reports of alleged abuse and neglect at the privately run facility that may have led to the deaths of three patients.

The reported patient deaths happened at the Broward County-based mental hospital within a two-month period from June 2011 to August 2011 — and included the gruesome death of a highly medicated man who had been left in a hot bath and was so severely scalded that his skin was “sloughing off his face.” According to the DCF report, staff failed to check on him every 15 minutes as required.

The other deaths included a woman who died after her head had been slammed through a wall at the hospital and a man who jumped to his death from an eight story parking garage after facility staff had taken him to an off-site appointment.

None of these deaths were reported to the state abuse hotline, which is a requirement when a death is considered unusual. A call to the hotline triggers a formal investigation.

The psychiatric hospital is run by The GEO Group, a Boca Raton-based firm that has received $500 million from Florida since 1998 to run the facility. GEO also happens to be one of the world’s largest private operators of prisons and detention centers.

A GEO spokesman claims policies have been changed to address state officials’ concerns. However, DCF is renegotiating GEO’s contract to require the hospital have a DCF inspector on site.

There is no excuse for negligence and abuse when it comes to caring for patients — it doesn’t matter whether it is at a mental institution, a nursing home, or a respected medical facility. A Broward County hospital negligence injury lawyer at Farah & Farah can help injury victims and their families hold liable parties responsible for their actions. Call us at (800) 533-3555 to find out what legal solutions we can provide.