Former Virginia gubernatorial candidate and current state Sen. Creigh Deeds’ (D) son Gus, who suffered from mental illness, could have been admitted to at least three Virginia psychiatric hospitals on Monday night. That contradicts previous claims that there weren’t enough beds open for him to use, the Washington Post reports.
The younger Deeds had a psychiatric exam performed under an emergency custody order, but was ultimately released on Monday after the Rockbridge Community Services Board failed to locate a hospital with a suitable bed for him. The following day, Deeds allegedly stabbed his father multiple times before taking his own life with a gun.
But spokespeople for multiple hospitals told the post that they would have taken Deeds in had they ever been contacted.
“Monday evening we did have beds available in our [mental health] inpatient unit, and we did admit several patients to the unit that evening,” said Debra Thompson, a spokeswoman for the western Virginia-area Rockingham Memorial Hospital. “Had we received a call needing a bed and the patient met the screening criteria then we would have been able to accommodate that patient.”
Representatives for the state-run Western State Hospital and the University of Virginia Medical Center, where Sen. Deeds is currently recovering and listed as being in “good” condition, echoed Thompson’s statement.
Although it’s unclear how these hospitals were overlooked in a search for available beds, the fact remains that the Rockbridge Community Services Board was forced to cold-call individual facilities to identify one that had room for Deeds. Unfortunately, there aren’t many effective systems for keeping track of the number and location of hospital beds in a given area — even during emergencies.
That shortcoming especially affects mental health emergencies since the number of psychiatric beds available to Americans who need them has been in free-fall for years.