During the evening of August 14th a twenty year old woman named Morgan Franklin, from Big Bear, CA, appeared at the emergency room (ER) of Mendocino Coast Hospital (MCDH), apparently having been driven there by law enforcement. A little over an hour later officers of the Fort Bragg Police Department (FBPD) were dispatched to the hospital due to a report that said same female patient was vandalizing the ER and assaulting members of the staff.
According to a FBPD press release, officers contacted Ms. Franklin outside the ER shortly after 9:10 p.m. Franklin is alleged to have threatened officers if they did not stay away from her. The officers talked with Franklin in an effort to discover why her demeanor had changed over the last hour or so. In addition, the officers tried to determine if Franklin was experiencing some sort of crisis.
When the officers finally attempted to physically detain her, Franklin became combative, resisted, struck and kicked them. The press release indicates that Franklin was eventually subdued and placed inside a FBPD vehicle so that further investigation could ensue.
Upon entering the emergency room the FBPD officers discovered the area of the nursing station looked like it had been ransacked. Computers and other expensive pieces of euipment were strewn about the floor, most, if not all, had been damaged or destroyed. The ER staff told the officers that as they [ER personnel] had begun to administer treatment to Franklin, she assaulted the emergency room doctor, then exited the treatment room and threw items and equipment at staff.
Franklin continued her rampage through the ER then exited. Outside, she climbed onto the roof of a parked vehicle and smashed the vehicle’s windshield with a large rock.
The FBPD press release concludes: “Franklin was placed under arrest and charged with felony vandalism and felony assault on medical personnel. She was later transported to the Mendocino County Jail without further incident.”
Franklin's charges also included misdemeanor resisting, obstructing, or delaying a peace officer along with being placed under a “competency status.” Her booking log states that she is five feet, eight inches tall and weighs one hundred twenty-five pounds. One person at the scene stated that Franklin was not a “5150” case, but was suffering from the effects of LSD use. The LSD having been acquired at the “Reggae on the River” event.
No one was seriously injured, though Franklin did hit and kick the police officers several times. A first hand witness said, “The destruction she caused inside the ER was incredible, and the resulting anguish she caused the hospital staff was shocking. A lot of anger and destruction from a skinny little twenty year old girl.”
Why is this incident of note? An interested person in the medical field put it this way, “The [MCDH] staff is besides themselves with no support and no clue if anything was investigated.”
This remark references the necessity for a hospital, in such a situation, to report to both OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). California Health and Safety Code 1279.1 requires a health facility to report an adverse event to CDPH no later than five days after the adverse event occurs. As of this writing it remains unclear if any report was made to the above named agencies by MCDH's lead administrators. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bob Edwards is reported to have called the damage and destruction “an isolated incident.”