Lawmakers drafting new bill to change the way mental health patients are transported

COLUMBIA,SC (WOLO)- Lawmakers are working on changing the way mental health patients transported after two died when their van was washed off the road during Hurricane Florence.

The new bill is hoping to prevent another tragedy like that from happening again.

“There has to be something more available to transport nonviolent mentally ill patients then a dog cage,” Diana Green, victim’s mother said.

Green’s daughter was one of the two mental health patients killed when a Horry County sheriff’s overtaken by flood waters back in September.

Now lawmakers are drafting a new bill to improve transportation for mental health patients.

“We saw it all fit to deem it important to address this issue,” State Sen. Marlon Kimpson, Charleston Democrat said.

This was the second meeting since the death of Nicolette Green and Wendy Newton. Since then, the two deputies who are accused of driving around barricades have been fired.

The lawmakers on the senate subcommittee want to have transportation officers be apart of a therapeutic transport unit and undergo crisis intervention training, which they say could be funded by the state.

“We want them to be trained and process by which they have the knowledge, background and skill set required,” Kimpson said.

They also want to make it mandatory for physicians to tell family and friends of mental health patients that they have the option of personally transport their loved one.

An option Diana said she was unaware of.

“To place our daughter in a situation like that, with her schizophrenia, and with the added phobia of claustrophobia in a very tight metal enclosure could not have been more beneficial for her mind and her health,” Diana said.

Lawmakers heard testimony about the lack of facilities available to mental health patients.

“This is reprehensible senators,” Diana said. “There must be another way. There has to be another way.”

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