'Celeb Rehab' Doc's Facility Has 3 Deaths in 5 Months

The California Department of Public Health is investigating a Pasadena hospital associated with the doctor who hosts VH1's reality show "Celebrity Rehab" after three patients reportedly died and one was allegedly sexually assaulted on the premises during the past five months.

The three deceased patients -- one of whom was found dead just hours after checking into the facility -- were all patients at the Aurora Las Encinas Hospital, according to ABC News' Los Angeles affiliate KABC. The facility's chemical dependency program is co-directed by Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of radio's "Love Line" and "Celebrity Rehab."

While the hospital refused to confirm the reported rape and deaths, citing patient confidentiality laws, a CDPH spokesman confirmed the ongoing investigation.

Pinsky told ABCNews.com that he had nothing to do with any of the patients involved.

rehab center

"These were not my patients," said Pinsky, who because of patient confidentiality laws could not delve into the details of the reported deaths.

"To associate me with these situations is really becoming an egregious problem," said Pinsky, who added that the real headline should be the increasing number of deaths related to prescription drug abuse.

Arline Clyburn, whose 23-year-old son, Alex Clyburn, died nine hours after he was admitted to Las Encinas for an addiction to painkillers, told ABCNews.com that poor monitoring led to her son's death.

"I think our son died because of the clinical incompetence and gross negligence, and the protocol that was insufficient," Clyburn said.

One of the other patients who died reportedly overdosed on another patient's drugs, according to KABC, and the third patient committed suicide by hanging himself.

In addition, the Los Angeles Times reported that a 14-year-old patient was raped by another 16-year-old patient.

Two of the patients who reportedly died were housed in the chemical dependency area of Las Encinas, and according the Los Angeles Times, the other two alleged incidents occured in the facility's hospital.

Pinsky did say that he had at one time treated Jeffrey Hearn, the patient who reportedly overdosed while staying at Las Encinas, but said that Hearn hadn't been in his care for several months.

Hearn's father told the Los Angeles Times that because of Pinsky's support of his son, he had given a donation to the hospital.

"I feel horrible for the families, and my heart goes out to the families and anyone else who loses their family to addiction," said Pinsky.

Who is Responsible for the Rehab Deaths?

A spokeswoman for the California Department of Public Health declined to comment to ABCNews.com about the circumstances of the deaths, but like all rehab facilities under its jurisdiction, Las Encinas was subject to CDPH inspection. Routine assessments are performed every three years, the spokeswoman said, and any complaints received are also immediately followed up with an in-person assessment.

Pinsky said he could not comment on whether he believes the hospital was at fault for the reported deaths and alleged rape, but he did say that the facility acted quickly to assess the situation.

"I know swift action was taken, and there were review agencies in place," said Pinsky. "The hospital is completely up to standards."

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