Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Successful Escapes From Psych Units

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the escape attempt by one of our patients that failed (The Great Escape). Today, I’m going to tell you about some that succeeded.
When I first started working in the psych field in an adolescent unit, we heard a loud sound coming from one of the patient rooms at about midnight. When we went to check, we discovered that the iron window bars have been pulled out of the outer wall. A friend of one of the patients had tied a rope to the bars, attached the other end to his truck outside a fence about 50 meters away, and pulled. Needless to say, the patient escaped through the window and over the fence. Who would have thunk it?! At another hospital, an agile adolescent climbed up the corners of a wall in the smoking patio area a la spiderman, and escaped from the roof. Let me try to explain how he did that: with his back facing two wall corners, he used his feet, legs, and arms to propel himself upwards towards the roof. In another roof escape from a patio, an adult patient stacked tables and chairs to get up and over the outside of the building. Most recently about three years ago, while the housekeepers were waxing and polishing the floors, a female patient managed to strip the caulk off a window leading to an outside patio and left the hospital. We didn’t find out that the patient had escaped until about two hours later, after the housekeepers finished their work. The cops picked up that patient the next day and brought her back to us.
The above are only incidents that I was present in. Other workers probably have more interesting stories about patients trying to and sometimes successfully escaping from locked psych units.

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