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Church-run Psyche Hospital Under State Investigation

(CBS)

(CBS)

LOUISVILLE, KY -- Locked alone in a room at Our Lady of Peace psychiatric hospital, a 17-year-old girl was allowed to beat her unprotected head on a hard floor more than 120 times last spring while as many as three employees watched, reports The Louisville Courier-Journal in its Sunday edition.

Those employees -- including a behavioral analyst -- were trying to determine the cause of the teen's self-injuring behavior. But now, the Kentucky attorney general's office is investigating the May 13 session as a possible crime.

The investigation follows an August report from state Cabinet for Health and Family Services inspectors that concluded that the hospital "failed to … assure the safety of the patient."

Though the girl -- whose diagnoses include autism, cerebral palsy and mental retardation -- "appeared dazed" afterward, a doctor wasn't told about the incident until almost 21 hours later. The call was made after hospital staff helping the teen shower noticed a bald spot that was "pretty swollen with popped blood vessels," one worker told inspectors, reports The Louisville Courier-Journal.

The inspectors' report, based partly on a video of the procedure, didn't detail the girl's eventual medical care or the extent of her injury. She was discharged in August.

Hospital officials declined to give her name or discuss her treatment, citing confidentiality rules. The Courier-Journal obtained the state inspector's report through a state open-records request.

The state conducted the inspection on behalf of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services -- which requires hospitals to meet safety conditions and other requirements to receive federal funding, reports The Louisville Courier-Journal.

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