Lack of Virginia Psychiatric Bed Set Stage for Deeds Tragedy

Wednesday, 20 Nov 2013 04:35 AM

By Elliot Jager

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Austin "Gus" Deeds, who allegedly stabbed his father Virginia Democratic State Sen. Creigh Deeds in the face and chest and then mortally shot himself, had been issued a magistrate's emergency order Monday for psychiatric custody, but was sent home because no beds were available, The Washington Post reported.
Thirteen hours before the incident, the 24 year-old Deeds had been evaluated for an unknown psychiatric condition.

Mental health authorities called several hospitals looking for a bed but one could not be found in the vicinity of his rural Bath County community about 100 miles from Charlottesville, according to the Post.

Some 200 patients believed to have posed a threat to themselves or others were turned away from Virginia psychiatric facilities in 2011, according to a report by the state's Inspector General's Office.

The report asked: "How can the Commonwealth ignore the medical advice of the treating physician who states unequivocally that this treatment is medically necessary for his patient?"

In 2012, a follow-up report by the same office noted that over a 90-day period 72 individuals — who met the statutory criteria for temporary detention in a psychiatric facility — were "streeted" or sent back into the community because Virginia's psychiatric facilities, particularly those in rural areas, have seen their services downsized.

Friends described Austin Deeds as musically talented, proud of his southern heritage, and with a sweet disposition, according to the Richmond Times Dispatch. Before he dropped out of William and Mary College in October, Austin had been a music major.

In 2007, Seung-Hui Cho, known to be suffering from a psychiatric disorder, killed 32 people and wounded 15 others at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg before shooting himself. He had earlier been briefly hospitalized.

Those killings drew attention to Virginia's mental health system, which advocates say remains financially "starved," according to the Post.

Besides budgetary constraints there has also been a move away from institutionalizing the mentally ill. "Over the past 50 years [there has been] too little institutionalizing of teenagers and young adults (particularly men, generally more prone to violence) who have had a recent onset of schizophrenia," according to Paul Steinberg a psychiatrist in private practice.

A friend of the senator's, Del. David J. Toscano, D-Charlottesville, said that father and son had been "very close" and that Creigh Deeds "spent a lot of time trying to help his son."

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Matt Towery: Give Thanks - the Nation Is on the Rebound

Thursday, 27 Nov 2014 10:43 AM

Most of us haven't felt any personal "economic recovery" in our own pockets. But contrary to my often doom-and-gloom out . . .

GOP's Tom Cotton Thanks Troops for Sacrifices on Thanksgiving Day

Thursday, 27 Nov 2014 09:22 AM

Senator-elect Tom Cotton delivered the GOP's weekly address on Thanksgiving Day, thanking the military for its sacrifice . . .

Gallup: Only 27% of Working-Class Whites Support Obama

Thursday, 27 Nov 2014 08:33 AM

And 41 percent of white college graduates approve of President Obama's job performance , the largest gap between working . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved