TORRANCE (CBSLA) — The chief medical officer of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where a patient was shot by deputies last week, called on Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to review how law enforcement operates in a hospital where there is already trained behavioral response staff.
Dr. Anish Mahajan, the acting chief executive officer and chief medical officer of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, issued a statement Friday about the Oct. 7 shooting and the sheriff’s response.
“During his October 14 news conference, Sheriff Alex Villanueva discussed the shooting of a psychiatric patient at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputy from the South Los Angeles Station and why the use of force was appropriate,” Dr. Mahajan’s statement said. “This deputy, who fired multiple shots at the patient, is not a member of the hospital’s on-site Sheriff’s unit and was assigned to provide security to another deputy who was an inpatient in a nearby room.”
Earlier this week, several members of the hospital’s staff joined protests of the shooting. The deputy had opened fire on the patient after he began acting erratically, taking medical equipment, trying to destroy a computer and smashing a window.
Dr. Mahajan said that the hospital has a behavior response team trained to respond within minutes and safely de-escalate situations in which patients are experiencing significant behavioral health issues. The hospital’s on-site, trained sheriff personnel are not part of this behavioral response team, he said.
“Behavioral events such as these involving appropriately trained personnel rarely result in law enforcement involvement and when they are called upon, have never resulted in the shooting of a patient at Harbor-UCLA,” Dr. Mahajan said in his statement.
Dr. Mahajan said the hospital is reviewing all aspects of the incident in the hopes of preventing future occurrences.
“I would hope the Sheriff would similarly conduct an assessment of law enforcement’s actions into how they operate inside a hospital where trained behavioral response staff are present to manage these situations,” he said.