First Nations man falsely arrested and treated for schizophrenia

You might remember in 2012, WA Police arrested an innocent First Nations man and dropped him off at a psychiatric institute in WA who shot him up with so many drugs he had to be taken to a hospital in dire need of medical attention.
The Graylands Psychiatric Hospital staff didn't bother checking him out properly and gave him very powerful anti-psychotic medications which caused the man to develop severe adverse reactions and was treated for medication poisoning.

The director of a psychiatric institute in Australia has a lot of explaining to do how his staff managed to grab an innocent First Nations man and shot him up with so many drugs he had to be taken to a hospital in dire need of medical attention.

The incident began when a psychiatric patient of Graylands, near Perth, Australia, left the facility without approval.

Police were called and were given a description of the wandering patient. A few days later they dropped off a man at the mental institute that fitted the description.

Graylands' staff thought the 'returned' man looked like the escaped patient as well. They didn't bother checking him out any further and give him a set of very powerful anti-psychotic medicine to which the man developed severe adverse reactions.

Only then did the psychiatric staff realize they made a mistake and had the wrong patient.

The man was rushed to a conventional hospital where he had to spend the night being treated for medication poisoning.

Low and behold, the 'real' patient showed up at Graylands a few days later on his own.

Authorities have begun an investigation into the major blunder wanting to know why the psychiatric hospital did not follow proper patient's re-admittance procedures before giving the man such potent medicine.

Experts concerned over arrest, drugging of wrong man

Falsely arrested and drugged

David Webber ABC-AM 17 December 2012

A mental health advocate says the case of a man who was arrested and drugged after being mistaken for a patient from a Perth psychiatric hospital is not a one-off.

Police arrested the man while on lookout for an involuntary patient who left Graylands Hospital without permission.

The man was wrongly identified as the missing patient and then given an antipsychotic drug.

He had a bad reaction and was taken to hospital, where the mistake was discovered.

Western Australia's Mental Health Minister Helen Morton says she was shocked to hear about incident.

"The policies and procedures are stringent about identifying people when they are made involuntary and when they are about to receive a Schedule 4 drug, and it would appear those policies and procedures weren't carried out," she said.

Mental Health Law Centre principal solicitor Sandra Boulter says there were probably several errors.

"There are a series of people, there were the police, there were the admitting staff, there's presumably the treating psychiatrist, and the Aboriginal Health Service, all of whom could possibly have identified the error," she told AM.

"It is always the case when there is a mistake, as even an airline pilot will tell you, it is never one mistake, it is a series of errors that accumulate leading up to the big error.

"I think it is a critically important that an independent person such as an official visitor is appointed or contacted so there is independent oversight of any admission."

Ms Boulter says this is not the first time an incident like this has occurred.

"I am certainly aware of one patient, one client of ours, who was admitted mistakenly and another two clients who were admitted on a false report where [it] was subsequently established that they did not have a psychiatric illness," she said.

She says she it is not sure if authorities are aware of the second incident.

"I'm not sure about that," she said.

"Our clients were unwilling to complain about what happened to them because they were fearful of being further traumatised by taking an action against the state."

Ms Boulter says she wants to confirm that authorities are in contact with the wrongfully detained man.