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Psychiatry

Army of the 12 monkeys? 40 psychiatric patients escape hospital

Thursday, May 23, 2013 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: psychiatry, patients, escape

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(NaturalNews) Africa's only public psychiatric facility resembled a scene out of the movie 12 Monkeys recently when a group of mental patients banded together to overtake the facility's guards and escape. According to reports, 40 male patients voluntarily withdrew, if you will, from the Mathari Mental Hospital in Kenya because the psychiatric drugs they were being forcibly given were "ineffective."

The Associated Press (AP) reports that at least 70 male patients decided to overpower the guards, but only 40 of them were able to escape. Parents and guardians of nine of these patients returned them to the hospital, but as of May 13, 31 others were still at large. Superintendent Dr. Kisivuli Azenga told reporters the patients are not a "danger to the society," but insisted that they return to "finish their treatment."

"The hospital has failed in its duty of care towards [the escaped patients] by allowing them to flee, thus exposing them to all sorts of dangers, ie: the police and public," writes one commenter on a Nation.co.ke article. "The hospital failed to keep them safe. These patients are probably frightened and need to be approached with sensitivity and not guns and thugs," he adds, noting that the hospital's approach of mobilizing police to "hunt them down" is inappropriate.

According to Azenga, one patient in particular is believed to have been responsible for inciting the others to plan a mass escape after a caretaker failed to properly administer him drugs. Azenga also says that patients have successfully escaped from the facility in the past as well, but never this many at one time.

"They must have strategized," said Divisional Police chief Samuel Anampiu about the escape, as quoted by BBC News. "It is not possible that, without proper planning, 75 people can break two doors and more than half of them run away."

Back in 2011, CNN News conducted its own investigation into conditions at the Mathari Mental Hospital after reports emerged about serious human rights violations taking place at the facility. That investigation, which was turned into a documentary entitled Locked Up and Forgotten, actually found the dead body of an individual locked up in a seclusion cell with a mental patient.

You can check out the documentary Locked Up and Forgotten by visiting:
http://youtu.be/gM4meNCLYAA

Sources for this article include:

http://www.nation.co.ke

http://news.yahoo.com

http://www.csmonitor.com

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-22509446
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