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Day passes for vulnerable patients of psychiatric hospitals can have dangerous, even fatal consequences

Day passes for vulnerable patients of psychiatric hospitals can have dangerous, even fatal consequences

Susan Bauer remembers the last weekend she spent with her brother as pleasantly uneventful. Being home was a rare treat for Joseph Bauer, something his sister recalled only happening four or five times during the last several years of his treatment at Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville.

Joe, as friends and family called the 61-year-old, was being treated for schizophrenia as a long-term inpatient at the state-run psychiatric hospital. His father and sister often visited him and took him out on two-hour day passes a few times a month.

Bauer recalls her brother being calmer than usual that summer weekend — he wasn't as anxious or as talkative as usual — "cool as a...

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