ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — 9 Investigates how a patient at Orlando Regional Medical Center could have smashed open a window in his hospital room and jumped to his death.
Today, our questions about staffing levels at the hospital during that tragedy went unanswered.
It happened on the 8th floor of a patient building on the campus of Orlando Regional Medical Center on May 16th, with the call going to Orlando Police at around 11 p.m. Witnesses told police the patient either sat or stood in the window after breaking the glass for several minutes before he jumped to his death.
“I heard something like glass. I heard it, close to me,” a witness told police in a sworn statement. “I looked up, and I saw a guy standing in the window.”
In sworn statements to Orlando Police, witnesses described hearing something fall to the ground and then looking up to see the man standing in the open window space above a courtyard.
“He was standing in the window and they were all looking at him trying to talk to him to go back into the room, and then he straddles the window, and we’re trying to talk him down, stay, don’t move, stay,” another witness said.
Those witnesses described pleading with the patient and rushing to get security to try to help him.
“There’s somebody that loves you,” a woman claims she told the man. “There are people that love you, do you want me to call somebody? It’s not worth it. Don’t do it, please.”
“After about 7, 8 minutes, put his second leg out. We’re like no, don’t jump,” a man told police.
We asked Orlando Health leaders whether this patient should have been watched at all times, what the provider-to-patient ratio was on the floor and unit during the incident, and whether the hospital system has a goal, minimum or maximum of provider-to-patient staffing written in policy.
A spokesperson sent us this statement:
The Orlando Police Department has confirmed that on May 16, an Orlando Health patient was the victim of a suicide. Orlando Health team members, including nurses and other clinicians, are to be commended for attempting to prevent the suicide. Following their unsuccessful attempts, they immediately responded to provide medical assistance to the patient, who, unfortunately, could not be saved. Orlando Health has offered grief counseling for team members who were impacted, and we have contacted the patient’s loved ones to extend our sincere condolences. We are thankful for our team members who care for and about their patients and each other daily.
Orlando Health also sent 9 Investigates a copy of an Agency for Healthcare Administration report, showing an investigation was conducted into the situation and that AHCA found ‘no deficiencies.’ A spokesperson wrote in the email that, in other words, there was nothing the organization did to cause the suicide and nothing it could have done to prevent it.
9 Investigates also asked if there are glass shatter alarms on patient windows, and whether Orlando Health has launched its own investigation into how this could have happened, but the questions were not answered in the statement provided.
The Medical Examiner’s office is completing an autopsy, which could provide relevant medical history, psychiatric history, and medications in the man’s system at the time of his death.
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