The scalding death of a mentally ill patient in March has been ruled a homicide by the St. Louis County Medical Examiner. Rutherford “Rudy” Wallace died March 16th of burns suffered after a scalding bath given him at the Northwest Habilitation Center near Overland. He had been a resident there for 30 years. Workers failed to call in the emergency right away, instead waiting for an hour before calling a private ambulance. Wallace died six days after the scalding. The ruling that the death was a homicide by the St. Louis Medical Examiner comes just prior to a scheduled public hearing in St. Louis by the Missouri Mental Health Task Force. Department of Mental Health spokesman, Bob Bax, isn’t sure what impact the ruling might play in that public hearing tomorrow. The death of Wallace, another patient death in 2005, as well as one in 2004, prompted the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to publish a series of articles examining mental health patient abuse. That prompted Governor Blunt to form the task force.As for the ruling in the Wallace case, Bax says mental health officials will do what they can to help. The ruling by the Medical Examiner as well as the results of the St. Louis County Police investigation will go to the prosecutor who will decide if ciminal charges are filed.
Related web sites:
Missouri Mental Health Task Force