SHARECOMMENTMORE

ST. PAUL, Minn. - A patient at the Minnesota Security Hospital, the state's largest facility for the mentally ill and dangerous, died yesterday, state officials confirmed Thursday.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services declined to provide more information about the patient or how the death occurred.

"We can confirm that a death occurred yesterday," DHS spokesperson Patrice Vick said in an email to MPR News sent Thursday afternoon. "Our deep sympathy goes to the family of the individual and also to our staff, who are very distressed by the death as the care of patients is our highest priority. We are awaiting the results of an autopsy for more information."

The agency declined to comment further.

Chuck Carlson, a security counselor at the facility for more than 25 years, said that the Minnesota Security Hospital usually experiences one patient death every year to 18 months, including deaths caused by chronic illness. Carlson, who is also the president of ASFCME Local 404, the union representing the facility's security counselors, said the last patient death he can recall at the facility occurred about a year ago. In that incident, he said, a male patient was found dead after suffering a stroke.

Carlson said he had not worked at the facility for several days and was not aware that a patient had died.

The Minnesota Security Hospital has faced scrutiny in recent months after employees protested the hiring of administrator David Proffitt to lead the St. Peter facility. Proffittresigned on Tuesday at the request of DHS Deputy Commissioner Anne Barry, after an investigation found problems with his behavior and management style.

By Madeleine Baran, MPR News
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