San Francisco Chronicle, September 29, 2011

Doctors at San Francisco General Hospital are refusing to intervene in a nearly month-old hunger strike by a man accused of a double killing near Fisherman's Wharf, on the grounds that he is of sound mind and can make his own decisions, San Francisco's sheriff says. This after a court-appointed psychiatrist said the murder defendant, Hong Ri Wu, was mentally incapable of standing trial. "I never want a prisoner to die in custody," said a bewildered Sheriff Michael Hennessey, "especially not when there is an absolute certainty that medical care could save their life." On Sept. 17, after about two weeks of refusing food at the County Jail, Wu's condition was deemed "acute" and he was admitted to San Francisco General. "And now the doctors at the hospital are saying that he doesn't have any mental health issues, so they can't intervene," Hennessey said. Hospital officials said they were prohibited from commenting, citing patient confidentiality laws. But San Francisco General typically involves a team of doctors and its ethics committee when it faces a crisis involving a psychiatric patient.

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