Patient Death: Feds Order Changes At Mental Hospital

We have an update on a story you heard first on News Leader Nine, about a deadly attack at a Columbus mental hospital. Federal regulators have ordered West Central Georgia Regional Hospital to change conditions that may have led to Luis Marrero's death.

Ever since Luis Marrero was severely beaten at West Central Georgia Regional Hospital, officials have remained tight-lipped about the circumstances surrounding his death, even to his family.

"Right now it's just difficult on our family. And it's sad because they pretty much are saying there were understaffed when this happened," said Marrero's daughter, Nelly Tuyo.

Now a federal inspection finds patients at West Central are in "immediate jeopardy", and authorities have threatened to cut funding if changes aren't made.

Ironically, a day after the report and the hospital holds a hiring fair. "We have a current vacancy of positions right now, there are no set numbers, we're interviewing for all positions," said Carolyn Mitchell, Interim Human Resources Director.

Since the Marrero attack, concerns have been raised about the safety of patients and employees, but hospital officials wouldn't address those questions.

When Mitchell was asked, "Can you ensure your employees safety once they're hired here? She replied, "Our purpose today is to conduct a hiring fair, that's what I can speak on."

The Department of Human Resources will only speak through this statement: "We have never had a hospital to lose certification. West Central will correct actions cited. The key concern is staffing and West Central has already made good progress in that area. We expect additional staffing to be in place next month."

The U.S. Department of Justice is already investigating conditions at Georgia's mental health facilities.

This isn't the first time West Central's funding has been threatened. The embattled hospital has been on the chopping block several times over the years.

Federal regulators have given the hospital until June 16th to make the necessary changes. Then, they'll do another surprise inspection.