Health Law

Va. Tech Gunman Never Treated Despite Court Order, Mental Health Records Show

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Mental health records released today for the gunman who massacred 32 people at Virginia Tech in April 2007 before killing himself show that he was never treated by the school’s counseling center despite multiple “triage” evaluations and a court order requiring that Seung-Hui Cho receive treatment.

The records had been missing until recently, when a former medical director for the counseling center discovered them at his home. They show a mental health system in disarray that never treated Cho as a serious concern even though there had been multiple warnings of worrisome behavior including violent writing and at least one suicide threat, according to the Washington Post.

On Dec. 14, 2006, for instance, the medical director, Dr. Robert Miller, got a 10:46 a.m. e-mail that Cho had been taken to a psychiatric facility after a roommate said he seemed suicidal and had some kind of “blades” in his room. The physician forwarded the message to his staff at 4:23 p.m., as an “FYI,” in case Cho was seen at the clinic. In fact, Cho had already come and gone from a 3 p.m. appointment that day, the newspaper recounts in a lengthy article about the light shed by the medical file on the crime.

It was the worst mass shooting by an individual in United States history.

Although a judge had determined earlier on Dec. 14 that Cho was a danger to himself and ordered treatment, Miller and his staff were never told of the ruling, the Post reports.

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