NYC’s shame: Psychiatric nightmare continues

Posted on August 22, 2010 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or


Alan Aviles: Don’t stay in his psych ward

 Since psychiatric patient Esmin Green died, ignored, on the floor of King’s County Hospital in 2008, I’ve repeatedly argued that far too few heads have rolled.  If it were in my power, I’d particularly like to show the door to Alan Aviles, head of the city’s Health & Hospitals Corp.  But some may have thought I was too quick to condemn Mr. Aviles, who, admittedly, has one hell of a job on his hands.  

Now, tell me again that the psychiatric mismanagement and patient violence at King’s County are nobody’s fault.  

It’s 2010, and the leadership at King’s County has allegedly been shaken, stirred and rocked. But once again, staff have again been found to have hidden very seveve deficiencies in their behavioral health unit. Need an example? Here’s an ugly one. One particularly unlucky patient was left alone long enough, often enough, to attempt suicide, get sexually assualted and attempt suicide again.  

In theory, these things shouldn’t be able to happen any more. When HHC settled a suit brought the the U.S. Department of Justice, it agreed to be supervised by a judge for five years. Perhaps the judge and Aviles are old golfing buddies?  Seriously, folks, this just isn’t funny.  

Anyway, don’t take my word for it:  read this well-researched piece  from the New York Daily News and tell me why there’s a single senior manager still in place at HHC, much less King’s County.  While it was published in April,  somehow I doubt things have changed much. I’d be embarassed to work there.