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Psychiatric hospital strained by patient needs, funding shortfalls

An investigation by The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer found that some dangerously ill patients who visit Charlotte’s psychiatric hospital are instead given medicine and sent home - sometimes with disastrous results. With perennial overcrowding at the county's 66-bed psychiatric facility, few who visit the hospital’s emergency department are admitted. The result: patients like Kenny Chapman don’t get the help they need. In March, Chapman told staff at the psychiatric hospital that he wanted to kill his wife. But clinicians opted not to hospitalize him, despite clear evidence of mental illness. Hours after he was released, Chapman suffocated his wife and went on to kill two of his children.

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