Girl, 16, Dies at Psychiatric Hospital

<i> From Associated Press</i>

A 16-year-old patient at a private psychiatric hospital died after staff members pinned her to the floor to keep her from banging her head against the walls, officials said.

Kristal Mayon-Ceniceros of Chula Vista went into respiratory arrest Friday afternoon at the New Alternatives residential care facility and died an hour later at a nearby hospital, authorities said.

The teenager became upset when she returned from lunch and found someone else at her desk, said Penne Hammerstead, a San Diego County medical examiner’s investigator.

The girl began banging her head against the walls and striking her forehead with her hands, then struck out at staff members, Hammerstead said.


Four workers put her face-down on the floor and held her legs and arms, “trying to prevent her from injuring herself or them,” she said.

The episode lasted about 30 minutes and ended when the girl went into respiratory arrest. Nurses called 911 and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

“It does not appear to have been an unsafe method of restraining her,” Hammerstead said.