Patient missing from East Coast Forensic Hospital
Published Tuesday, May 8, 2012 6:41PM ADT
Another patient reported missing from the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Dartmouth, N.S. has prompted calls for change to how the facility notifies the public of these situations.
Amy Ogilvie, 21, has been missing since Friday night, but the hospital did not notify the public until 72 hours later.
Ogilvie had been out on a pass and was scheduled to return to the hospital Friday evening. When she didn't show up, the police were notified, but not the public.
Doctors are concerned that Ogilvie's risk to herself and others may increase with time away from treatment.
"The hospital protocol is that we notify the public after 72 hours. That is a balance we strike because on the one hand, most of the patients return long before that period of time," says East Coast Forensic Hospital Clinical Director Dr. Scott Theriault.
"It is a balance between public safety and the rights of patients," says Health Minister Maureen MacDonald. "These people have not been convicted of any criminal offence and are not criminals in our justice system. They are patients in our mental health system."
Ogilvie was deemed not criminally responsible after she tried to kidnap a child in Kingston, N.S. last year. Court documents show she testified she wanted to be arrested under the guise she was a child molester so that when she got to jail she would be harassed or stabbed.
She is also facing charges in connection with an assault on an employee at the East Coast Forensic Hospital in January.
Theriault says a patient in her position would be near the end of her stay at the hospital.
"Ms. Ogilvie had extended passes into the community, had a residence in Kentville, so she in fact had at times fairly extended passes from the hospital," says Theriault.
The pass system at the hospital is under review after 49-year-old Raymond Taavel was beaten to death outside a bar in Halifax last month.
Andre Denny, who is accused of second-degree murder in connection with Taavel's death, was out on a pass from the hospital at the time.
"The protocol should have been tightened up. Unsupervised passes should have been stepped back from and we should look at what we can do to ensure not only public safety, but protect patients who are out on their own," says Nova Scotia Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil.
Ogilvie is due back in Dartmouth provincial court to enter a plea for the assault charge next week.
Ogilvie has greenish-blue eyes and long, blond hair. She is roughly five-feet-six inches tall and weighs 140 pounds. She was last seen wearing blue jeans, sneakers and a white coat.
Anyone with information on Ogilvie's whereabouts is being asked to contact local police.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell