Two patients from the State Psychiatric Hospital in the East Felician Ward on Wednesday sued Louisiana for release in connection with a massive coronavirus outbreak that killed nine patients. They claim that their rights are being violated because they were not released from an institution where the situation is “rapidly deteriorating” amidst the pandemic. This is reported by NOLA.
Storm Erie, who was found not guilty of aggravated arson in New Orleans because of bipolar disorder, and Glenn Stelly II, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, said the state is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by forcing them to stay in a Jackson hospital where they are not adequately protected from the deadly virus…. According to a lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge, the hospital staff does not provide patients with enough space for social distance. Plaintiffs also claim that the Jackson hospital, which for many years sought government funding to repair its collapsing buildings, does not maintain basic hygiene and isolation of patients with coronavirus. Cleaning has become so rare, they say, that insect larvae are growing in the sewage system.
The Louisiana Department of Health, which monitors hospital and state responses to the coronavirus pandemic, said 183 of 700 patients in the hospital were infected with coronavirus on Wednesday, 96 of whom have recovered or are close to recovering. Nine patients died from Covid-19. Authorities claim that all infected patients were isolated. In addition, 55 employees were infected with the virus, 41 of whom have recovered, according to the state report.
Lawyer Erie and Stelly, Andrew Beeser, called the hospital “deplorable, obsolete and rapidly deteriorating. “If they really did what they were supposed to do, that is, not just store these people, but reintegrate them into society, there would be more beds and more space,” said Beeser. – Even if there was no pandemic, they still had to do it. Storm Erie said he had to share the hospital wing with infected patients last month, and Glenn Stelly II said he was given new roommates when his old ones got the virus. Melanie Bray, managing attorney for the Louisiana Disability Rights Society, told NOLA that patients are given masks but are not required to wear them. The lawsuit says that employees first tried to isolate patients with the virus, they eventually “gave up” as more and more people were tested positive for the coronavirus.