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Psychiatrist Fired In Death Of Patient At Mental Hospital

June 7, 1985 GMT

NORTHVILLE, Mich. (AP) _ A staff psychiatrist has been fired following an investigation of the slaying of a patient at the Northville Regional Psychiatric Center, becoming the eighth employee disciplined in the case, an official says.

Dr. Sevil Akman was fired for making ″major errors in professional judgment″ in her handling of one of the patients charged with murder in the May 26 slaying, state Mental Health Director C. Patrick Babcock said Thursday.

″I have been working in this hospital since 1974 and I am a very hard worker, very conscientious, diligent,″ Akman said after learning of her dismissal. ″I cannot, you know, make a good statement, but I am heartbroken.″

Babcock told a meeting of the state Mental Health Advisory Council in Lansing that John Foley, 20, one of Akman’s patients, was ″taken off observation″ despite having made statements ″that could be viewed as homicidal.″

Foley and fellow patients Maurice Massie, 18, and Tyrone Williamson, 19, have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Gregg Helzerman, 20, who was beaten, choked and smothered.

A registered nurse and three resident care aides were fired earlier. A social worker, registered nurse and resident care aide supervisor were suspended without pay for one day.

One member of the advisory council criticized the firings.

″No one in their right mind is going to want to work in Northville when they see they are going to be made scapegoats for previously existing problems, said Dr. Gardner Quarton.

Quarton said the Department of Mental Health and the Legislature share responsibility for Helzerman’s death because they failed to correct long- standing problems at the hospital.