Mass. Hospital Fires 29 in Sex Abuse Incident

The Boston Globe reported today that Carney Hospital fired the staff of its adolescent psychiatry unit Thursday, after an investigation into an employee’s alleged sexual assault of a patient uncovered serious patient safety problems.

Hospital president Bill Walczak told the Globe that he hired former attorney general Scott Harshbarger and his law firm to investigate the assault allegation and conditions on the 14-bed locked unit for extremely troubled teens. When he read Harshbarger’s report Thursday, Walczak said he decided to replace the nurses and other staff on the unit.

The report described “serious concerns about patient safety and quality of care on the unit. It was not functioning properly. It was recommended by them to start over on the unit,” Walczak told the Globe in an interview. “We will have top- notch employees replace those who left. My goal is to make it the best unit in the state.”

He did not provide details of the alleged assault or patient safety concerns, or comment on why the entire staff was dismissed, given that the allegation involved one employee and one patient.

The Globe reports that Walczak said he was told about the accusations a month ago, soon after the incident allegedly occurred, and immediately reported it to state mental health officials and put the unit’s staff on administrative leave.

The hospital did not notify law enforcement because attorneys told its executives that it is up to the patient and his or her family to report the incident to police.

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