RiskAlert INCIDENT REPORT 565 –
Patient Strangled in Aventura Hospital, Florida
32-year old Behavioral Health Patient found Strangled to Death
in his Hospital Room
32-year old Alex Paloumbis diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia at a
young age, had been in the hospital for two weeks. He was on the fourth-floor psychiatric
ward when he was attacked by the patient in the next bed.
The other patient in the room, identified by police as Alexander T. Jackson, 31, was
charged with first-degree murder and remained in Miami-Dade County Jail on Monday
with no bond. Jackson, who is homeless, was admitted to the hospital around 10 a.m
Thursday, the day of the murder, which occurred about 3 p.m. the same day. He was
put in the same room with Rios, according to the arrest report.
Behavioral health patients require extra controls including
live, continual camera monitoring, use of appropriate
medication and possible use of restraints.
Patients may pose a danger to others, as they did in this tragedy,
and should be under continuous supervision.
Rios was last seen alive at about 2:45 p.m. Thursday. At 3:36., a hospital
housekeeper found him face down on the floor. “The defendant admitted
to killing the victim by strangling him with his hands and a bedsheet,”
according to the report.
While administrators declined to comment on the security procedures at the
hospital, IAHSS (the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety)
President Marilyn Hollier said psychiatric floors generally have lock-down
procedures, metal detectors, seclusion rooms and cameras at the access
points. It is not known whether any of these security controls existed at the
hospital. Hollier also stressed that security officers need specialized
training to deal with behavioral health patients.
Aventura Hospital, located near I-95 north of Miami, Florida, has a large
behavioral health unit with 46 beds. The victim’s mother said her son was
never violent. “He never, never, never raised his voice,” Paloumbis said.
The mother was summoned to the hospital Thursday. She was told come
quickly and then was ushered into a room where police officers and detectives
were waiting. Though she had limited English skills, she understood that
her son was dead and initially thought that he may have died from a heart attack
or other natural causes.
Stay Situationally Aware and Continuously Monitor Behavioral Health Patients!
RISKAlert® is a publication of Risk & Security LLC at www.riskandsecurity.com