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Nursing facility under investigation after patient runs away [Updated]

August 4, 2011 |  9:05 am

Montrose nursing facility under investigation

The state attorney general's office is investigating a Montrose nursing facility after a patient ran away and barricaded himself in a neighborhood restaurant.

Officials declined to comment further on the July 26 incident at the Verdugo Valley Skilled Nursing and Wellness Centre.

[Updated at 12:09 p.m.: The attorney general's office clarified that the investigation into the July 26 incident was separate and in addition to a current indictment against the center alleging abuse and neglect of a suicidal patient who eventually killed himself.]

Calls to the facility went unreturned on Wednesday.

In the most recent incident, Glendale police officials told the Glendale News-Press that the patient fled at 7:53 p.m. through the front doors of the facility in the 2600 block of Honolulu Avenue, prompting nurses to chase him for a block.

But the patient — whom officials did not identify — ended up hiding inside the bathroom of the Cibo Thai restaurant, where he claimed he had two guns and planned to shoot someone.

The patient, who was admitted into the facility earlier that day for paranoid schizophrenia, reportedly told police he was being held against his will.

When he emerged from the bathroom, police didn't find any weapons inside. Officers placed the patient on a psychiatric hold and took him to Olive View Medical Center.

Police reported the incident to Los Angeles County and state officials for investigation, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

The facility came under scrutiny after 34-year-old Charles Morrill killed himself on Feb. 28, 2009, by discharging a handheld fire extinguisher down his own throat, officials said.

Before killing himself, Morrill had made three similar attempts, officials said.

The investigation into his death led to a grand jury indictment last month against Verdugo Valley Skilled Nursing and Wellness Centre and its former administrator, Phyllis Paver. Paver and the facility face one felony count each of dependent adult abuse and neglect.


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-- Veronica Rocha, Times Community News

Photo: The Verdugo Valley Skilled Nursing and Wellness Centre on Honolulu Avenue in Montrose. Credit: Raul Roa / Glendale News-Press