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TS: Psychiatric patients assaulted at Turku hospital

Patients at a psychiatric ward in Turku have been abused, assaulted, confined and medicated without their knowledge, according to a report in the local newspaper Turun Sanomat. Police are investigating some of the abuses.

Psykiatria psykiatrinen sairaala mielenterveys
Image: Yle

Turun Sanomat reports on Thursday that staff at a psychiatric unit in Turku have been abusing their patients for years. They have assaulted patients and medicated them without their consent, according to TS, as well as illegally restraining them.

The abuses mainly occurred in a unit for elderly patients. Staff on the night shift would, according to TS, over-medicate their patients so that they could sleep. Those nurses routinely slept 4-6 hours on the night shift, which is strictly forbidden on psychiatric wards.

In addition to the mistreatment of patients, TS reports that a large quantity of medication also disappeared from the unit.

Municipal health authorities investigated the case in 2013, but only informed police of a fraction of the abuses they uncovered. Health regulators at the Supervisory Authority for Health and Welfare (Valvira) were not informed.

Riitta Liuksa, a manager at the local municipality, admitted to TS that the city had made mistakes in handling the case.

According to another psychiatric specialist interviewed by TS, the mistreatment at this unit was not isolated—evidence of similar behaviour in other units was uncovered.

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