Burned Woman's Family Asks, "WHY?!" (from AJC.com)

February 13, 2009

Gold Pak, husband of the victim and father of the suspect, is questioning why Georgia Regional Hospital in Decatur had released his daughter, whom they believed was not ready to leave the facility after a seven-week stay.
“My daughter should stay in regional hospital a couple more months, but they say ‘that’s OK, take her home,’” said Gold Pak, adding with a mournful wail “nooo… that’s not right!”
When Gold Pak and his adult son went to pick up his daughter Jan. 29, he said they pleaded with the hospital staff to keep her longer. Yong Pak had refused to sign the discharge form and told a nurse she wouldn’t take her medication, the family said. The hospital sent her home anyway.

Dena Smith, spokeswoman for state Department of Human Resource, said she could not confirm whether the hospital treated Yong Pak due to federal patient privacy laws, but she warned against dismissing a patient’s personal responsibility for managing their mental illness.
“I’m sure there is a lot of confusion and if someone’s loved one has been hurt or killed, then people are trying to make sense of that,” Smith said. “But not at the expense of the rights of people who have mental illness. Personal responsibility of managing mental illness should definitely be brought into consideration. It’s only fair to people who every day manage and live in the community with mental illness."

WTF!!! Personal responsibility, my ass!!! It was the hospital’s responsibility to keep a person who is unstable in the hospital! NO EXCUSES!!! She was refusing her medication, because she was not in her right mind. Dena Smith, you should be in jail, not Na Yong Pak!

Since 2007, Georgia Regional Hospital/Atlanta has been a primary target of a federal investigation into problems at the state-run mental hospitals.

A report by the U.S. Justice Department last year called conditions at the Panthersville Road facility “critically deficient.” Besides patient safety problems — and preventable deaths — Georgia Regional also was cited by federal investigators for poor planning for patient care after hospital discharge. Last month, the state of Georgia reached an agreement with the federal government on a five-year plan to make dramatic improvements at Georgia Regional and its six other psychiatric hospitals.

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