Shake up at Laguna Honda Hospital in the wake of a patient abuse scandal

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Six workers have been fired and two top executives have resigned at San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital amid allegations that nearly two dozen patients were abused.

Laguna Honda Hospital serves the poor and elderly-- people who need long term care, but can't afford private nursing homes. On Friday, Mayor London Breed and city health officials called a news conference to address what was being done to patients instead of for them.

"This behavior is not something we will tolerate. This behavior is not something I will tolerate," said City Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed added, "These particular acts that have occurred by a few individuals will be addressed."

Health officials say while investigating an unrelated dispute by two employees, they found evidence that 23 dementia patients in two wards were victims of abuse, starting with improper talk about sex-- and Colfax says it got worse.

"Verbal and physical abuse, neglect, privacy violations, medical errors and the administration of non prescribed substances in an attempt to pacify them."

The six workers are also accused of making unauthorized video and audio recordings, and raiding the hospital pharmacy for drugs to keep patients quiet.

We talked to a woman who's husband has been in Laguna Hospital for months with a broken hip. She didn't want to be identifed.

"I've seen nurses gang up and start talking and messing with them until people cry" she said.

Norman Yee, President of the Board of Supervisors, said, "We really need to figure out how to prevent something like this from ever, ever happening again."

The six accused employees have been fired and Laguna Honda's two top executives have resigned. The case is now in the hands of law enforcement to see if criminal charges can be filed.

Mayor Breed said, "We are better than this. We are committed to restoring the trust of patients and families at Laguna Honda."
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