Napa State Hospital in California committed no wrongdoing in the discharge of a mentally ill woman who ended up at a Las Vegas emergency room in August, an investigation concluded.
The California Department of Public Health’s investigation determined there was no violation of state or federal regulations by the 138-year-old public psychiatric facility northeast of San Francisco, state officials said of the case involving Amanda Brandes, 26. Family members contend Brandes was transported out of state and dumped at University Medical Center in Las Vegas without their knowledge.
“A deficiency will not be issued to Napa State Hospital as a result of this investigation,” Corey Egel, spokesman with the California Department of Public Health said in a written statement last week.
However, action has been taken to fire the director of California’s Plumas County Mental Health Services for reasons that have not been disclosed. The Plumas County Board of Supervisors during a closed session in September voted to give 30 days notice to terminate the employment agreement of Kimball Pier without cause, according to meeting minutes.
Plumas County Mental Health Services Interim Director Michael Gunter didn’t return several calls seeking comment Monday and Tuesday. A county employee said Tavares wasn’t available on Tuesday.
On Aug. 17, Brandes was mysteriously left at UMC. She carried paperwork showing a discharge date of Aug. 16 from Napa State Hospital. She told a UMC psychiatrist that a mental health caseworker drove her to Las Vegas, promising her a Social Security disability check and a place to stay.
Irasema Tavares, a case manager with Plumas County Mental Health Services, is alleged to have driven Brandes to UMC. Tavares reported to Pier.
Dr. Dale Carrison, UMC’s chief of staff, said Monday he was informed a couple of weeks ago that there was no violation on the part of Napa State Hospital.
Shannon Brandes, Amanda’s mother, isn’t satisfied with the outcome.
“I still don’t think justice was done,” she said Monday. “The lady who drove her to Las Vegas is still working for the county, but in a different capacity.”
The mother took issue with the investigation findings, which concluded Napa did nothing wrong by releasing her daughter because a court hearing judge had said Amanda Brandes no longer needed a guardian and could make her own decisions.
“I don’t know how they could say that when she’s been ruled slightly retarded, developmentally delayed,” she said.
Shannon Brandes speculated that her daughter must have made it known to her caseworker that she wanted to go to Las Vegas and that Pier directed Tavares to drive her there.
The caseworker and Pier “should have been making decisions in the best interests of my daughter,” the mother said. “How’s it in the best interest to drop her off at a county hospital in Las Vegas?”
Shannon Brandes said she’s been told her daughter, now at Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital, may be released in two weeks. She will return to California.
Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (702) 383-0440, or email@example.com.