Mentally ill need Taunton State

GOVERNOR Patrick made impressive promises last week in the wake of a Globe article about the death of a mentally ill patient at Bridgewater State Hospital (“Patrick orders review of death, vows to limit use of restraints,” Page A1, Feb. 21).

The Patrick administration, however, is failing to acknowledge its role in creating a statewide crisis through policies that have cut beds and services for people with severe mental illness. Just weeks before this tragedy, the administration announced plans to close Taunton State Hospital, the one facility in the system that has a proven record of caring for the acutely mentally ill. It earned a national award for restraint reduction in 2010.

The administration’s failure to fund and support comprehensive mental health services has created a situation where thousands of patients a year are boarding for days or even weeks in hospital emergency departments waiting for beds and services, and now the Patrick administration is proposing to eliminate just what these people need. The result will no doubt be more unnecessary deaths and needless suffering.

Karen Coughlin



The writer is a nurse at Taunton State Hospital.