The Western Psych grand jury report: Do the right thing
Whether an Allegheny County grand jury's recommendation to not seek criminal charges against UPMC's Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic for routinely failing to report sexual assaults and not cooperating with criminal investigations is prudent remains to be seen. Even considering professions of a new cooperative climate, it's counterintuitive to think this tiger will change its stripes.
But no matter what Western Psych does, what must change — immediately — is the proclivity of all medical institutions to seek refuge under an overly expansive definition of patient confidentiality that, in cases such as these, only hurts patients.
Western Psych came under fire from District Attorney Steve Zappala last year after a female patient, 8, was assaulted by another patient. Involving police was treated as an option. And the grand jury impaneled by Mr. Zappala came to the shocking conclusion that seven sexual assaults between April 2007 and March 2013 were either not reported to police or that hospital officials denied investigators access to evidence.
Good grief, had these been murders, would Western Psych have hidden the bodies?
Having dodged criminal culpability, UPMC continues to blame the state's Mental Health Protection Act. But we suggest it abide by a higher calling — the Do What's Right Act.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.