A state investigation into alleged abuse of mentally ill patients at a Southern Nevada hospital that serves the poor found staff ignored a patient with bruises and eye injuries who claimed hospital workers assaulted her.
Hospital staff, the state report said, failed to assess, document and report the injuries and suspected abuse — even though the bruises were visible on hospital cameras — and didn’t regularly check on patients.
North Vista Hospital in North Las Vegas was investigated in June after employees filed two complaints alleging a hospital employee “choked, kicked, punched, slammed” psychiatric patients and cursed at them. The complaint said hospital supervisors closed the doors to trap patients inside with the abusive employee, who was not named in the report.
“An employee had a patient in a choke hold until the patient passed out and heart stopped beating,” the complaint read. It also alleged another patient’s limbs were broken by restraints.
The Review-Journal reported in February that North Vista had released a bipolar, suicidal woman to a stranger who got paid to place her in an unregulated group home. The woman was found dead the next day.
The hospital faced scrutiny in March for releasing patients experiencing a psychotic break hours into their 72-hour holds. One man killed himself soon after discharge. Two other patients who went to North Vista for anxiety attacks told the Review-Journal they were beat up by hospital staff — in particular, an amateur MMA fighter named Darnell Bumpus, who worked as a mental health tech.
Hospital sources said Bumpus has been terminated. Bumpus did not return calls for comment Wednesday, and a hospital spokeswoman declined comment on his employment status.
The report also found that North Vista “failed to ensure injuries of an unknown origin” on one patient were assessed and reported in a timely manner.
The patient was admitted for bipolar disorder, psychosis and hypertension. A few days later, the patient had “redness on both eyes” and bruises. The patient, who had no visitors, accused two staff members of inflicting the injuries. A video showed the patient showing the injuries to a nurse — who ignored them.
“There was no evidence the injuries were reported to a supervisor to initiate an investigation,” the report said.
The nurse denied seeing the bruises, though they were visible on camera. Hospital CEO Vincenzo Variale said some staff members were fired, according to the report.
Nevada Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Chrystal Main said North Vista will not face any fines or closure because the deficiencies are minor. But the hospital is required to submit a correction plan, and state officials will follow up.
In the correction plan, North Vista leaders said they’ll conduct “timely assessments” of patient injuries and report suspected abuse within 24 hours.
The employee complaints also alleged that hospital staff falsified medical records, stole money from psychiatric patients, released them with a bus pass and no clothes or shoes and that a psychiatrist abused drugs in an elevator and brought strippers to his office.
Those allegations were not substantiated.