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Mental health patient allegedly kills hospital roommate

July 8, 2011 | 11:49 am

This post has been corrected. See note at the bottom for details.

Authorities at a San Fernando Valley hospital said they did all they could to protect a mental health patient allegedly killed by his roommate.

Dean J. Camacho, 48, died soon after his throat was slashed on the mental health ward at Pacifica of The Valley Hospital in Sun Valley on June 26, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.

Hospital officials immediately alerted police and state regulators, according to chief executive Ayman Mousa.

Authorities arrested Camacho’s roommate, Jerry Romansky, 27, and charged him with murder, said LAPD Foothill Det. J. Martinez.

Mousa said neither patient had a history of violence, and hospital staff did everything they were required to do to prevent such an attack.

“There’s nothing that we could have done to prevent it,” Mousa said. “There were no alarms or red flags.”

Both men were under conservatorship, meaning their affairs were managed by the government.

Camacho had been at the hospital for several months, while Romansky, who was psychotic, had been hospitalized for six days and had been cleared by a psychiatrist to be released June 27, Mousa said.

Neither man showed any signs of violence, otherwise, they would have been placed in isolation or assigned staff to watch them, Mousa said.

“This guy did not show any violence at all,” he said. “He managed to hide his feelings.”

Hospital staff checked on the men every 15 minutes as required by the hospital, and no staff have been disciplined in connection with the attack, Mousa said.

When staff made their last check, Camacho was preparing to go do his laundry, according to coroner’s reports. They returned to find him in the bathroom with a neck wound.

No patients reported hearing the attack, which did not draw the attention of staff at a nearby nursing station or a psychiatrist preparing notes nearby, Mousa said.

He said Romansky “took advantage” of the system to attack his roommate in between the required checks, using a bracket removed from a box designed to shield the room’s plumbing.

Hospital officials have since removed the bracket from all patient rooms, Mousa said.

State regulators were still investigating the incident Friday, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Romansky was being held without bail at Twin Towers Correctional Facility downtown.

His next court appearance was scheduled for July 12 at North Valley Municipal Court in San Fernando.

[For the Record, 1:13 p.m. July 8: An earlier version of this post incorrectly spelled Ayman Mousa's last name as Moussa.]


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