Could Alaska Psychiatric Institute Have Prevented an Attack on a 7-Year-Old? (KTVA.com Exclusive)
After pleas for psychiatric help, why wasn't Byron Syvinski institutionalized?
There aren’t security officers around every corner, but everything is captured on camera. “It’s a very safe place,” said Adler. “…When we do have an issue, we just call APD, but it is rare.”
The facility has a 10 bed adolescent unit – complete with an Anchorage School District educational unit. The Denali unit is the adult neuro unit, which serves a large array of people, but the care staff often sees elderly residents with severe cases of dementia. And finally there is the Taku unit, where everyone behind the secure door is in custody and unfit to stay in with the general patient population.
There are secure outdoor patios, with metal birds that line the concrete walls, and silver-colored tables where patients can dine and relax.
Just through the visitor entrance of the building is a comfortable sitting area known as “the meditation room” where families can sit, have a coffee, and visit with a loved one. It even accommodates the younger patients, with a miniature dining table and miniature chairs. On Sundays API holds a church service and during the week support groups meet.
Located down the Main Street hallway is the dining room. The aroma of fresh lasagna and grilled chicken fills the room with an aroma similar to grandma’s house at dinnertime. During dining hours seven round tables fill up with patients.
Next to the dining room is the life skills learning room, complete with a kitchen. Staff teaches patients the basics of nutritional cooking and how to balance a budget.
The facility has a computer lab where people can email with family, a physical therapy workout room, and a recreational gym. “The Boston Celtics would be proud to play in that gym,” said an enthusiastic Adler. Along with a game of hoops, patients can play volleyball and climb a rock wall.
There is educational health information lining the wall, about everything from cholesterol to diabetes. Adler said in recent years they have become more health conscious.
The facility is like a school -- except for the courtroom.
Behind a wooden podium is an American flag. After being admitted for 72 hours, if deemed necessary, officials from API can request the court have the patient committed for 30 days with medication.
“If a patient is admitted on legal status, and does not meet criteria for this level of acute care, they are discharged with referrals and treatment recommendations.”
So why wasn’t Syvinski taken to API or admitted into the hospital for a longer period?
Officials at Providence would not comment.
Syvinski was at Providence for less than 24 hours, leaving little time for monitoring.
If he had been admitted into API he wouldn’t have had the chance to attack Am-Marie Martin.