Five employees reprimanded for Oregon State Hospital death

SALEM — Five state mental hospital employees have been reprimanded for inadequate care of a patient who died last October.

The Statesman Journal reported that an investigation into the death of Moises Perez found all five Oregon State Hospital employees failed to perform their duties.

The five-month investigation by the State Office of Investigations and Training determined the hospital neglected Perez by failing to provide him with adequate medical care.

An autopsy found that Perez, 42, died of heart disease.

Richard Harris, director of the state Addictions and Mental Health Division, told the newspaper that tougher sanctions, including termination and docked pay, were ruled out.

"It's a pretty serious disciplinary action within the hospital," Harris said of the reprimands. "It's something that stays within a person's record for three years."

Two of the employees, Sue Johnson and Mesme Tomason, are nursing leaders in the hospital's forensic program.

Also reprimanded were three veteran staffers in the forensic program: Joe Thurman, who is a nurse, and Scott Finnegan and Henry Laughrey.

A hospital committee is conducting a separate review of the medical practices of Dr. Michael Robinson, the hospital psychiatrist who oversaw the care of Perez, who died Oct. 17 in hospital Ward 50F.

Robinson is performing non-patient duties pending the outcome of the review, officials said.

The investigation spurred a shakeup in hospital leadership in early April, and a related hospital investigation into the job performance of seven employees involved in Perez's care.

The reprimands were called inadequate by Beckie Child, a member of the state hospital advisory board and president of Mental Health America of Oregon, an advocacy group.

Child noted that hospital Superintendent Roy Orr was forced to resign on April 2, the same day the state released its investigative report documenting flaws and failings in Perez's care.

"I'm sorry, Roy had nothing to do with what happened to Mr. Perez," Child said. "He was a scapegoat. I still hope somebody besides Roy gets fired over this."

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