Nevada health officials are investigating patient care conditions at North Vista Hospital three months after a Review-Journal report detailed allegations of physical abuse in the psychiatric ward.
The state is investigating two complaints regarding the “the physical environment, care of patients and maintenance of records,” said Chrystal Main, a spokeswoman at the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. Complaints were received on May 22 and June 7.
“Both investigations are still in progress at this time,” Main said. State officials declined to release the complaints until the investigations are complete.
One hospital worker who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution said the complaints are linked to abuse of mentally ill patients. The worker said Darnell Bumpus, an amateur MMA fighter who works as a mental health tech at the North Las Vegas hospital, has beaten up patients and nearly killed one of them.
“Darnell choked a patient out and we had to give him a code blue,” the worker said. “After the incident, the employees got together and made sure the report said what they wanted it to say.”
The Review-Journal in March reported that Bumpus allegedly tackled Jacob Delgado, a patient who was having an anxiety attack, put him into a headlock and sedated him. Another patient, David McCovy, emerged with a black eye and scratches after he says employees from the hospital’s psych ward slammed him to the ground and punched him.
Another man, Kenneth Robert Risher, killed himself after the hospital released him within hours of being admitted for suicidal tendencies. And Rayshauna Roy, a bipolar suicidal woman, died after the hospital released her to a stranger who put her in an unregulated group home.
Bumpus declined to comment Friday and referred questions to the hospital.
Hospital spokeswoman Susan Olson defended Bumpus in March and said no one had filed complaints against him.
“North Vista Hospital considers patient safety a top priority,” Olson said on Thursday.
McCovy, who faces misdemeanor charges after hospital staff claimed he attacked them, said he now suffers from neck pain and vision problems. He was admitted to North Vista in November for a panic attack.
McCovy said he’s grateful that the state has launched an investigation into patient conditions at North Vista Hospital.
“I’m happy the truth about that hospital is coming out especially after they denied everything,” he said Thursday. “No patient deserves to go to the hospital and be beat up and choked like me. Where is the upper management when all of this stuff is going on? They need to be held accountable.”
McCovy, Delgado and two hospital staffers describe an environment where Bumpus and other mental health techs mock patients, laugh at them and supervisors cover up for the staff.
Photos obtained by the Review-Journal appear to show Bumpus laughing as he wears an adult diaper in the hospital hallways. Colleagues said he was mocking the patients.
Olson said the hospital “does not mock behavioral patients” and Bumpus was demonstrating how to put on an adult diaper.
“The facial expression was an unfortunate awkward moment he had while demonstrating putting on the diaper,” she said.
The state’s Health Care Quality and Compliance, the agency investigating the complaints, is gathering information through interviews and observation, officials said.
“HCQC staff then review the information to determine whether the complaints are substantiated,” Main said.
If substantiated, the hospital can face sanctions ranging from monetary fines to corrective action plans or closure.