Investigation Uncovers Abuse of 23 Patients at San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital

An investigation uncovered evidence of mistreatment of 23 patients at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco, including taking photos and videos without consent and giving patients medication without prescriptions, according to the city's Department of Public Health.

The allegations of abuse at the 780-resident hospital, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center for seniors and people with disabilities, first surfaced in February.

The Public Health Department, which operates the hospital, started an investigation into the allegations and released the results on Friday.

It found evidence of abuse dating back to 2016 and continuing to this year. Other allegations included verbal and physical abuse of residents, sexualized conversations, neglect, and failure to report violations. The investigation found a pattern of giving unprescribed medication to residents in an attempt to sedate them.

Six staffers were fired along with hospital CEO Mivic Hirose and the director of quality management. Margaret Rykowski, the Public Health Department's chief integrity officer and director of compliance and privacy affairs, was named acting CEO.

Mayor London Breed said her mother had been treated at Laguna Honda for years before she died in 2016. She recalled the staff she met was dedicated and respectful.

"What has recently come to light is so profoundly hurtful, offensive, and heartbreaking for so many of us who care deeply about this hospital," Breed said in a statement. "This behavior does not belong in our City or anywhere and can never be allowed to happen again."

In addition to removing the staff, public health officials said that all impacted patients were notified and they conducted wellness checks with each. Staff was retrained in preventing and reporting patient abuse and relevant regulatory agencies and law enforcement officers were notified.

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