The state’s handling of mental health patients is now being scrutinized after the Tuesday killing spree in Taunton, allegedly committed by a patient recently released from psychiatric care.
The alleged perpetrator in Tuesday’s stabbing rampage that left two victims dead and two others injured, Arthur DaRosa, had been taken to Morton Hospital for psychiatric treatment at 5 p.m. on Monday and was released at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, the day of the attack, the Boston Globe reported. He was killed during the attack.
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"It could have been prevented," Liz DaRosa, the suspect’s aunt, was quoted by WCVB. "They didn't treat him for what his sickness was or his mental illness."
Morton Hospital has indicated that it had beds available for psychiatric care, but a state contractor was responsible for deciding how to handle resources in connection to DaRosa's case, the Globe added.
Under current state policy, a hospitalization can be ordered if a patient evaluation finds a likelihood for "serious harm" resulting from mental illness, CBS Boston reported.
Morton Hospital issued a statement saying its professionals had been advocating for years for a state review of its use of third parties in patient evaluations, according to WCVB. "The current policy mandating that the evaluation process must be carried out by a third-party state contractor is misguided," the hospital statement said.
A Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services spokesman had previously told the Globe that the state body "will fully cooperate with law enforcement during the ongoing criminal investigation and will carefully review the details of this situation."
On Thursday afternoon, Morton Hospital announced that one third-party contractor would no longer be allowed to conduct mental evaluations on Medicaid patients in the hospital's ER, the Boston Globe reported in a separate article.
"Effective today, Morton Hospital has banned the state selected sub-contractor Norton Emergency Services AKA Taunton/Attleboro Emergency Services (NES/TAES) from evaluating or recommending treatment for any patient at Morton Hospital,” the Globe reported the hospital's statement on the decision.