They were released by hospitals after a mental health crisis, and their lives were tragically cut short
DETROIT (WXYZ) – A Detroit hospital’s decision to release a man just 6 hours after he tried to take his own life raises questions about other recent patient deaths following a quick release from the hospital.
Since 2020, at least four DMC psychiatric patients have died after a mental health crisis — either by their own hands, or after a violent altercation with the police.
As 7 Action News first reported Thursday, 41-year-old Sean Cohen was brought to a Detroit hospital for admission in October after attempting suicide by swallowing two bottles of prescription pills.
Detroit police responded and Cohen pleaded for care at the crowded hospital off Woodward Avenue.
But just six hours after his suicide attempt, Cohen was discharged from the hospital. The next day, he turns to the same place where he had tried to end his life before, swallows three bottles of pills and jumps into the Detroit River.
Unlike his first suicide attempt, this one was successful.
When Detroit police pulled Cohen’s body from the river, they found him wearing a backpack full of weights.
Hospitals like Detroit Receiving are a last resort for people like Shaun. The safety net that is supposed to catch them when community services fail. But time and time again, patients admitted to being discharged quickly, only to face tragedy.
Police said Darren Walker suffered from mental illness and was transferred to Detroit Receiving in July 2020, after he pointed a gun at a neighbor.
Within 24 hours of his admission, he was released, and later that month, he was seen carrying a sword and throwing daggers in broad daylight. When the police responded, he attacked an officer and was shot dead.
Three months later, Michael Moza checked himself into a Detroit Receiving Crisis Center, police say, after he shot up a home in southwest Detroit.
He was released hours later, returned to the same house and opened fire again. When the police responded, Moza led them on a chase that ended in his death.
Last June, 22-year-old Porter Burks was taken to Sinai Grace Hospital, a sister reception, after his family said he was trying to fight people in the street.
After being accepted, he ran away from Sinai Grace, was returned by the police and later discharged. Three months later, Birx was killed by police after she made a dodge with a knife on the officers.
The Detroit Medical Center, which operates Detroit Receiving and Senna Grace, declined to comment on patients being discharged from the hospital citing patient privacy laws.
But they said patients are “only discharged when they are medically ready, based on a detailed assessment by the clinical care team.” The spokesperson said that when patients like Shun die, the hospital conducts an internal investigation.
“The system is broken,” said Detroit Police Chief James White. “We have to stop dancing around it and pointing out the issues that I think could be the real problem.”
When psychopaths die after being released from the hospital, observers are supposed to ask questions.
But as 7 action news were revealed in a series of reports in 2019 and 2020they were not.
in 2020, The reports prompted a new law requiring investigations When the patient dies by suicide, or if the cause is unknown.
But today, the Department of Health and Human Services will not release anything about those investigations or their findings. Today, they won’t even reveal if Sean Cohen’s death has been reported by the Detroit Receiving Hospital.
“This is not an attitude that should result in a ‘trust us’ government,” said Kyle Williams, legal director for Disability Rights Michigan, a nonprofit that protects the rights of people with disabilities.
“We have a right to know how many of those are being investigated,” he said, “and we have a right to know what those investigations entail.”
“And at the end of the day, we have the right to know that the state will do something about it, or to tell us that this is not a problem.”
More hospital beds aren’t the answer, Williams says; The best way to prevent such tragedies from happening is to invest in better mental health services in the community.
Other advocates say we need both.
Tonight, Sean Cohen’s family is no closer to understanding why the hospital released him, when he clearly needed help. If we don’t learn from what fails here, they ask, what’s to stop it from happening again?
“This is a very clear tragedy for this person and this family,” said Williams. “This is a real failure of the mental health system.”
Contact Detective 7 Ross Jones at email@example.com or at (248) 827-9466.