Western Australia's Mental Health Minister has apologised to a man who was arrested and drugged after being mistaken for a patient from a psychiatric hospital. The man was picked up by police on December 16 because he fitted the description of an involuntary patient at the mental health centre Graylands, who had left without permission.
The wrongly identified man was taken to the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, where he was held overnight and given a strong anti-psychotic drug that caused him to become ill. It was not until the real patient returned to Graylands on December 18 that the mistake was realised. Critics have described the incident as yet another example of WA's poor mental health system.
Minister for Mental Health Helen Morton apologised for the mistake. She said it was most likely the fault of an individual and not the health system's policies and procedures. "I am shocked and appalled this could happen to anyone in WA," Ms Morton said. "I am very sorry for the distress and hurt that the misidentified man has endured.
"I find it hard to imagine that if proper processes were followed, there is any excuse for such a terrible mistake to be made. I will await the outcome of the clinical review, however people must be held accountable for this dreadful mistake and to ensure that it never happens again. One way or another the person or people or system that is accountable will be held accountable for this." The state opposition's John Quigley said the wrongly detained man deserved compensation.