State in­ves­ti­gat­ing Mon­day’s re­lease of Deeds’ son

At least 3 men­tal health fa­cil­i­ties re­ported space avail­able

The Washington Times Daily - - Metro - BY DAVID SHERFINSKI

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.

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