State investigating Monday’s release of Deeds’ son
At least 3 mental health facilities reported space available
Virginia has opened an investigation into the mental health evaluation of Gus Deeds, who underwent a psychiatric examination but was released just hours before attacking his father and then taking his own life early Tuesday.
Gus Deeds’ father, state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, was listed in good condition Wednesday at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.
G. Douglas Bevelacqua, who works on behavioral health issues in the Office of the State Inspector General, has confirmed that the office is investigating the release of Gus Deeds, 24, after an emergency custody order expired Monday.
“It would obviously be inappropriate to get ahead of it,” he said in a brief phone interview.
Gus Deeds had undergone a psychiatric evaluation at a facility in Lexington but was released after a bed could not be found for him.
The emergency custody order allowed him to be held for up to four hours to determine whether he could be held longer under a temporary detention order.
Gus Deeds was released when no psychiatric bed could be located after eight hospitals were tried, Dennis Cropper, executive director of the Rockbridge County Community Services Board, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
On Wednesday, Debra Thompson, a spokeswoman for Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Harrisonburg, said there were available beds on Monday in the hospital’s inpatient unit.
However, Ms. Thompson said, the emergency team member on call that night “did not speak with anyone at the Rockbridge CSB” about an open bed.
At least two other facilities within an hour’s drive of Lexington — Western State Hospital in Staunton and the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville — had available space.
The Washington Post first reported the news about the three facilities.
More details about Tuesday’s attack also emerged Wednesday.
Mr. Deeds and his son had an altercation outside of his Millboro home and Mr. Deeds was stabbed multiple times in the head and torso, police said.
After the stabbing, Mr. Deeds walked down the hill from his house to Route 42, where he was spotted and picked up by a cousin driving along the road. The two drove to the cousin’s residence and called 911, police said.
After authorities arrived, Mr. Deeds was taken in an ambulance to a nearby relative’s farm and a medical evacuation helicopter.
Authorities, who responded at 7:25 a.m. to the 911 call, also found the young Deeds suffering from a life-threatening gunshot wound. He died at the scene.
An autopsy confirmed the wound was self-inflicted and that the shot was fired
Rosemary, who was mentally ill and underwent a lobotomy at age 23.
In February 1963, in a special address to Congress, the president said that “mental illness and mental retardation are among our most critical health problems. They occur more frequently, affect more people, require more prolonged treatment, cause more suffering by the families of the afflicted, waste more of our human resources, and constitute more financial drain upon both the public treasury and the personal finances of the individual families than any other single condition.”
He also said the “time has come for a bold new approach” and that all levels of government as well as “private foundations and individual citizens must all face up to their responsibilities in this area.”
Kennedy and Congress ended up agreeing on a national mental health package that incentivized states to build new community mental health centers, improve state institutions and care, and look at preventive programs, among other things.
Critics across the board said the ambitious national effort fell short — way short.
Today, Kennedy could look at this week’s events in Virginia, involving the stabbing of a state lawmaker at the hands of his disturbed son to know that America is still wrestling with the issue of mental illness. WWJD? A madman’s bullet precisely 50 years ago Friday means we shall never know.
HIV/AIDS (continued): In my Nov. 19 column, I said “HIV/AIDS is not a ‘gay men’s’ disease.”
For certain, gay and bisexual men and boys are dying from the disease, and so are heterosexual women who are being infected by gay and bisexual men and women.
My point is the virus doesn’t discriminate. It cares not whether you are young or old, heterosexual or homosexual. In fact, it doesn’t care whether you claim any orientation or are in serious denial. It can infect regardless. That’s why it is not a “gay men’s” disease.