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Forensic hospital patient’s website gives glimpse of life inside

Windsor firefighters quickly attacked the fire that was spreading at this residence on O'Brien Street on Feb. 14, 2016.
Windsor firefighters quickly attacked the fire that was spreading at this residence on O'Brien Street on Feb. 14, 2016. - Carole Morris-Underhill

Former Hants County man, found not criminally responsible of lighting a home on fire in 2016, writes about life at the East Coast Forensic Hospital

HALIFAX, N.S. — A patient at the East Coast Forensic Hospital has set up his own website to blow the whistle on everything from not enough butter and sugar being served with meals to what he sees as potential security risks.

Adom Patchett was found not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder in April 2016 after burning down his mother’s house in Windsor. He’s detained at the forensic hospital in Burnside, but gets occasional passes to leave the facility.

“I’ve been on approximately 30-40 passes,” Patchett said Tuesday in a telephone interview.

He admits to setting his mother’s house afire back on Valentine’s Day 2016. “I was very ill at that time,” Patchett said. “They have me medicated. I’m much, much better now. But it still doesn’t change the fact that I see all types of things happening here that are wrong.”

Patchett’s website includes posts about how patients escape from the hospital. “Some patients have vehicles out in the front parking lot,” says his site.

It delves into the different classifications of patients and what privileges some of them are granted to leave the grounds. Some, he notes, get passes to stay out overnight. “However, a urine drug screen test is done when you return, and if any illicit substances are found including cannabis, you are penalized and you loose privileges.”

On his site, Patchett writes about contraband being smuggled into the facility. “Drugs are always brought in from the outside either in the rectum or close to the testicles,” it says. “The pass system is essentially a drug pipeline which is horrifying because once people inside the hospital test positive for drugs, (the nurses) begin blaming everyone.”

Patchett writes about fellow forensic hospital resident Andre Noel Denny, of Membertou, who beat gay rights activist Raymond Taavel to death outside Menz Bar on Halifax’s Gottingen Street in the early hours of April 17, 2012 after walking away from the forensic hospital, where he was being treated for schizophrenia.

Earlier this year, Denny was granted supervised community access, but Patchett writes about how he does not believe there are enough hospital staffers accompanying the convicted killer on his outings. “They take him out like he’s a big Teddy Bear.”

In an interview, Patchett said he recently went swimming at a public indoor pool in Cole Harbour with Denny and two other patients from the forensic hospital. They were accompanied by female and male hospital staffers.

“There were lots of people there; children and adults alike,” Patchett said of the pool.

He expressed doubts about hospital staffers being able to handle Denny during outings. “If he decides to go, he’s going to go right through people.”

On the more picayune side of things, Patchett said forensic hospital staffers are denying some patients extra sugar, butter and milk. “They’re doing equal food for everyone when some of us are much bigger guys that need more than that.”

Patchett said his leave privileges have been revoked since he walked to a Tim Hortons near the forensic hospital over the weekend and used the free wi-fi to create his website with his laptop computer.

“I’m locked down,” he said. “They’ve taken everything from me. The only thing I can do is use the payphone.”

Patchett, who is in his late twenties, said he’s been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.

“When I go psychotic, I start getting into religious stuff, which you’ll see on the website. I start telling people I’m an angel and things like that. And then when I come out of it, I go, ‘Oh no.’ I go in and out of the illness.”

The Nova Scotia Health Authority learned of Patchett’s website Monday, spokesman John Gillis said late Tuesday in an email.

“Patients have a right to express themselves and share their experiences,” Gillis said.

“Any concerns the writer posts will be reviewed with the patient, as well as the importance of respecting the privacy and confidentiality of other patients.”

 

 

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