Patient death spurs investigation at Michigan psychiatric hospital

State health officials are investigating Kalamazoo (Mich.) Psychiatric Hospital after a patient died at the facility  this month, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services told Becker's Jan. 15.

Michigan State Police said Daniel Kusmierz, 61, died of natural causes Jan. 6. Officers were dispatched to the state-run hospital after a staff member called 911 to report that Mr. Kusmierz was not breathing, according to CBS affiliate WWMT.

Bob Wheaton, a spokesperson for the Michigan health department, confirmed that the state's Office of Recipient Rights has opened an investigation into Mr. Kusmierz's death. While specific details about the case are unknown, state law requires the office to investigate any case involving alleged abuse, neglect, serious injury or death, according to WWMT.

Mr. Wheaton shared the following statement with Becker's: "Protecting the safety, health and well-being of patients at MDHHS psychiatric hospitals while they receive the treatment they need is a top priority for MDHHS. The department investigates any patient death at state-operated psychiatric hospitals."

The investigation comes about five months after a state audit found Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital failed to remove accused employees from patient contact after investigations of abuse or neglect allegations.

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