Northwest Health, Arkansas: Behavioral Health Employee Charged with Felony Patient Abuse

May 1, 2023

A former Northwest Medical Center employee charged with abusing a patient was arraigned in Washington County circuit court on March 22.

Collyn Harlan, 28, was charged with one felony count of abuse of an endangered or impaired person. A felony information sheet accused Harlan of fracturing a victim’s ribs by throwing him to the floor.

Investigators discovered that during the incident, on March 13, 2022, a patient was voluntarily admitted to the behavioral health unit for recurrent severe major depressive disorder. During the intake process, the victim was asked to remove clothing for a “skin assessment.”

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The victim told staff that he was not comfortable doing this. According to an affidavit, surveillance video showed Harlan and another employee grabbing the victim’s arm, raising his feet off the floor and “forcefully” throwing him to the floor.

Documentation in the patient’s medical records said that he was “assisted to the floor for being noncompliant.”

Two other mental health technicians seen on video interacted with the victim during the intake process and said that he “did not show any signs of being physically aggressive during their interaction.” The victim began complaining of rib pain after the incident, and an x-ray taken two days later displayed fourth and fifth left-side rib fractures.

During the March 22 hearing, Judge Mark Lindsay also set a tentative trial start date for August 4.

Source: C.C. McCandless, “Former Northwest Health employee arraigned on abuse charge,” KNWA Fox 24 (Arkansas), Mar 24, 2023, URL:


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