NN Behavioral Health Center’s plan doesn’t address key shortcomings in teen’s death


NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Raven Keffer was 17 when she was admitted to Newport News Behavioral Health Center in June.   

According to an employee who had knowledge of Raven’s case, her complaints of serious health problems went unheeded by nurses who were in charge.

By the time someone called 911, Raven had already been there eight days. She was transported to a hospital but died there the same night.         

A state investigation released last month found that Newport News Behavioral Health failed to comply with 13 different regulations. The follow up report says the center has made several changes to its admission and screening procedures.

MORE: Special Report: Investigating teen’s mysterious death

MORE: State report: NN center failed to provide adequate care for Raven Keffer

MORE: Staffer says teen’s pleas for care were ignored before death at NN Behavioral Health Center

They include more documentation of the person’s medical history, determining whether they pose a risk to themselves or others, and even picking up on visual cues that might indicate underlying medical conditions.

But the list of violations that the state released in September included depriving Raven of appropriate services and medical treatment — and this week’s report shows no evidence that Newport News Behavioral Health has taken any action to put a plan in place for future medical emergencies.

In fact, that violation isn’t even mentioned.

10 On Your Side asked for comment from CEO Paul Kirkham. As he has in the past, Kirkham cited patient privacy laws and said the center once again “extends deepest condolences to family and friends.”

Newport News Police were initially looking into Raven’s death but have ended their investigation.

The medical examiner’s office ruled that Raven died from natural causes related to lymphocytic adrenalitis, a type of autoimmune disease.

Those close to Raven, as well as the employee who spoke to us as anonymous source, say while the center may not have been able to prevent Raven’s death, it should have transported her to a hospital more quickly,  and that medical attention might have made her final days less grueling.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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