Woman found dead outside Bartlett Regional Hospital

Posted: Friday, May 25, 2001

A mental health patient at Bartlett Regional Hospital was found dead Wednesday morning outside the hospital.

She apparently jumped or accidentally fell from the hospital's roof, said Bartlett Chief Executive Bob Valliant.

The hospital wouldn't give her age, hometown or medical condition, citing privacy laws.

But Valliant said she was in the mental health unit, in an unlocked room designed to be suicide-proof on the hospital's third floor, Tuesday night. The woman jimmied open her room's window, which has a brace to keep it from opening more than a few inches, and which overlooks part of the roof, he said.

Hospital staff check patients in the unit every 30 minutes, and logs show she was checked on regularly. The log said she was resting well. But the woman had lumped pillows and blankets so that it looked like a sleeping person, Valliant said.

Hospital staff discovered she was missing at 8:15 Wednesday morning, and her body was found about 11:30 a.m. between the hospital building and trailers housing a temporary kitchen, Valliant said.

Bartlett is investigating the incident.

"We're looking at all the issues surrounding it, like changing our policy to include a bed check that actually, physically checks the patient in the bed," he said.

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