Nashville mental health patient dies in beating from another patient www.privateofficer.com
NASHVILLE, TN April 22 2012 - Metro police are investigating the beating death of a patient at Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute on Stewarts Ferry Pike on Thursday morning.
James M. Hodge, 53, was attacked by another patient just after 6 a.m., according to detectives.
“It was a very quick, calculated attack,” said Metro police spokesman Don Aaron.
Hodge was taken by ambulance to Summit Medical Center with severe head injuries and died during surgery Thursday afternoon.
Police said the death is being classified as a homicide.
Hodge and another patient, Thaddeus Odom, 60, became involved in a fight around 2 a.m. Thursday. Police said they were separated by staff and placed in different rooms in the same wing of the facility.
However, at 6:05 a.m., Hodge walked from his bedroom to a nearby room. Odom then reportedly walked into that room and attacked Hodge.
The assault was witnessed by two nearby staff members, who came to Hodge’s aid.
“As the staff members attempted to respond, Odom inflicted the injury to Hodge and was walking out as they were rushing to Mr. Hodge,” said Aaron.
Odom has been placed in a separate area of the mental health facility pending the outcome of the police investigation.
The deadly attack may raise some of the same questions about supervision the Channel 4 I-Team started asking the institution’s CEO more than a month ago.
The I-Team found dozens of employees fired, suspended or disciplined for failing to manage patients at risk and for abuse and neglect of patients.
One case involved a man unmonitored long enough to plan and pull off an elaborate death, drowning himself inside an overflowing toilet after securing the bathroom door shut with a bedsheet.
An internal record also showed a nurse fired for failing to check on two patients for nearly an hour – patients who were supposed to be under intense observation.
It’s unclear whether there was adequate supervision when Hodge was attacked.
“But MTMHI administration and staff are being fully cooperative and have allowed our detectives access to everything they need,” said Aaron.
The leaders at the facility sent us a statement, saying in part that they take all incidents like this “very seriously and will fully investigate.”