A new Milwaukee County audit found that violent incidents by patients at the troubled Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex grew over the last five years, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. More than 400 patients were involved in about 800 violent events, including assault, improper sexual contact, and property damage, Auditor Jerome Heer says.
County officials have refused to give an $80,000 consultant’s report on patient safety at the complex to the county’s own auditor. That report was done in 2008 while a criminal investigation of the 2006 death of Cindy Anczak was still open. Anczak died of complications of starvation after spending a month at the complex. The audit was requested by County Board Chairman Lee Holloway in April after the Journal Sentinel reported on a federal inspection that found patients at the complex to be unsafe. Inspectors listed multiple instances of patient sexual assault, including one patient who became pregnant at the complex. Incidents began to decline this year, most likely because of the public attention, Heer said. The Journal Sentinel’s “Patients in Peril” series in August found a patient with a history of violence was placed in a mixed-gender ward near vulnerable patients, allowed to roam freely, and sexually assaulted several patients. The series also found doctors’ orders were not followed and nurses signed reports in advance claiming to have regularly observed patients when they hadn’t.