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Prosecutors won’t charge anyone in connection with death of patient at Winnebago Mental Health Institution

OSHKOSH — Wisconsin prosecutors have decided not to charge anyone in connection with the death of a mental hospital patient, police said Wednesday.

State inspectors say the Winnebago Mental Health Institution patient fell at 10 a.m. on Oct. 15 and became unresponsive, but it wasn’t until after midnight that he was taken to an emergency room. He was diagnosed with a brain bleed and died weeks later.

A nurse told inspectors investigating the death that a doctor seemed unconcerned and said they “needed to wake the patient up.”

The Oshkosh Police Department issued a news release Wednesday afternoon saying the patient was a 58-year-old man from Racine County. Investigators determined he had “purposefully fallen” and the Winnebago County district attorney’s office had determined no criminal charges are warranted.

The release didn’t identify the patient or elaborate further. Phone messages The Associated Press left at the district attorney’s office and at the police department weren’t immediately returned.

The Oshkosh Northwestern reports the investigation comes at a time when the Winnebago Mental Health Institute is at risk of losing federal funds because of safety concerns raised by state and federal investigators.

The Winnebago hospital serves about 180 patients, most of them adults, who have been ordered by courts around the state to receive treatment. On Sunday, 38 of the patients were minors.

In February, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ordered a safety review of the facility and found staffing shortages and that the hospital could not “ensure a safe environment for the patients.”

The February investigation found that the hospital did not screen a patient’s suicide risk before the patient was discharged. The patient was readmitted three days later.

The hospital is working to correct the shortcomings CMS found and the federal agency will conduct an announced survey before July to review their progress. The threat of losing federal funds will be lifted if the hospital is complying with all standards of care.