If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call the suicide prevention hotline at 988. National Alliance on Mental Illness Utah: namiut.org
OREM, Utah (ABC4) — Two employees at the Hidden Hollow Care Center were charged with abuse after a patient in their care died by suicide.
Laetitia Odunze, 70, and Amy Lauritzen, 53, were both charged with aggravated abuse of a vulnerable adult, a 3rd-degree felony.
Odunze worked as an Administrator, and Lauritzen worked as the Director of Nursing; both served as caretakers for the patient and were accused of endangering the patient who in the end committed suicide.
According to charging documents, the patient was known to have schizophrenia with suicidal ideation and prior suicide attempts. He was prescribed a daily dose of 150 mg of Clozapine to treat his schizophrenia.
When the patient moved into the Hidden Hollow care facility, he did not have any Clozapine with him. Rather than scheduling appropriate medical evaluations so the patient could be admitted and receive proper medical treatment, Lauritzen used Clozapine from a discontinued prescription from a prior patient.
Beginning April 1, 2022, the Clozapine began to run out, the charging documents stated. From April 1 through April 3, the patient did not receive a full dosage, and from April 4 through April 11, the patient did not receive any Clozapine. Lauritzen documented that he was out of his medication and that he was suicidal, but did nothing to fix it.
On April 11, 2022, around 1 a.m., the patient lay in the parking lot and was run over inadvertently by an employee in their vehicle. This was not the first time the patient endangered himself by going into the middle of a road.
Earlier that evening, at 8:30 p.m., the patient reportedly ran out of the facility, sat in the middle of the road, and tried to lie down. According to charging documents, Odunze escorted him back to the facility. Odunze allegedly did not file an incident report, and she did not warn the night staff about his suicidal behaviors.
Charging documents state that Odunze “failed to take emergency action, adequately warn staff, or put safeguards in place.” It also states Lauritzen permitted the patient’s health to be endangered by “mismanaging medications, failing to obtain necessary medical evaluations, and failing to properly follow up on suicidal behaviors.”
This comes simultaneously along with two men who managed an assisted living home in Midvale, being charged for unsafe and unsanitary living conditions, financial exploitation, and licensing violations.
You can read the Utah Department of Health and Human Services’ response to some ‘harsh criticism’ of their department concerning the Midvale facility here.