More Beds Needed for Mental Patients’ Care, Research

Recent articles (“New UCI Medical Facility Sparks Debate,” Feb. 16) have informed the public of a dispute regarding the use of a new building at the UC Irvine medical facility in Orange. When planned and during its construction, the building was designated as a unit for the care of psychiatric patients. Now some officers in the medical center wish to use only part of the building for mental patients.

As a physician and member of the California Alliance for the Mentally Ill who has long studied the research on mental disease being done in California hospitals, my point of view is totally for the mental patients and the psychiatrists and other scientists doing research in this field.

UC Irvine already has achieved a very high level of work in this field. Internationally recognized is the work of Drs. William Bunney, Monte Buchsbaum and Steve Potkin. Of note, too, are younger researchers Ian Lipkin, Benjamin Seigel Jr. and Joseph C. Wu.

Far more beds are needed in California by the patients with mental disease than are available. Too many of these patients are either on the streets or in the jails. These new beds will be for clinical care and for research. The length of stay will be shorter than that of state hospitals like Metropolitan or Camarillo.


It has been said that reduction in the number of mental patients will be accomplished by research. The facilities for patient care and research must be extended.


Seal Beach