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Every day, hundreds of sick and injured patients walk into free and charitable clinics around the Tampa Bay area in need of a doctor.Many are suffering from chronic conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Some patients were referred to the clinics by staff at hospitals where they landed after years of neglecting to care for treatable conditions.The clinics allow the patients to pay what they can, or nothing at all. They are staffed by doctors and nurses who volunteer their time. They survive off donations and small grants.Many of the patients have jobs but they are living paycheck to paycheck. None have health insurance, either because they do not qualify for Medicaid or can’t afford private coverage. For these patients, the clinics are often their only option for primary care.

Red Flags Missed Before Hospital Sex Assaults

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Park Royal Hospital
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

New depositions and court records suggest that staff at Park Royal Hospital in Fort Myers may have lied to police and lawyers about their screening of the job application of a man who admitted  sexually assaulting mentally-ill patients in 2013, according to court records reviewed by the Naples Daily News.

Benjamin Bland was sentenced to five years in prison last year, and the lawyer of 11 women who are suing the hospital said a confidential settlement isn’t yet finalized, according to the Daily News. Officials from the facility owners, Acadia Healthcare, did not reply to interview requests from the Daily News

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.