Mental hospital shows door to naked man

Posted: Friday, March 31, 2006

ANCHORAGE - A man who was forced to leave the state mental hospital stripped off his clothes in the lobby and was found by police, shivering in the cold and wearing only his socks.

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The incident is being investigated by the Disability Law Center, which is authorized by the federal government to investigate reports of abuse and neglect involving people with disabilities. The Alaska Psychiatric Institute also is conducting an internal probe.

API will make any changes needed, said hospital chief executive officer Ron Adler.

Meanwhile, the center went to federal court to make sure the mental hospital doesn't recycle a video that may assist in its investigation.

According to Anchorage police, they received multiple calls the afternoon of March 5 about a naked man near the mental hospital.

The 36-year-old man was wearing nothing but socks in 35-degree weather.

Officer Nathan Mitchell found the man shivering violently. He retrieved a blanket from his cruiser and draped it around the man, then helped him into the vehicle to warm up, police spokeswoman Anita Shell said.

Mitchell learned the man may have come from API, so he took him there. A staff member told the officer the man was not psychotic and wasn't ill enough to be admitted to the mental hospital, Shell said. The staff member told police the man just wanted a warm place to sleep and three meals a day.

The police officer told the API worker that it is not normal for a man to be naked walking down the street in March in Alaska.

Shell said API staff made the man leave, then watched him take off his clothes in the API lobby and walk out the door and across the parking lot.

The police officer took the man to the psychiatric emergency room at Providence Alaska Medical Center, which accepted him for treatment.

Later that evening, a hospital supervisor called Mitchell to again say the man was not psychotic enough for the mental hospital, Shell said.

The next day, Mitchell checked on the man's status and found he had eventually been admitted to API.



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