A 45 year old woman suffering from mental illness and drug addiction nearly died after attempting suicide with the belt of her hospital terry robe. The woman had checked herself into the hospital after having increase suicidal ideation and increased depression.
After being admitted to the hospital, she was designated as a "high risk" patient; they noted her increasing psychosis and progressively worse suicidal behavior. Despite all this, they still gave her a terrycloth bathrobe with a tie. She then used this tie to hang herself in the hospital bathroom. By the time she was found, she had no pulse and CPR was performed.
As a result of this incident, the woman, who lived, suffered a severe anoxic brain injury and remained institutionalized for two years, requiring full time care. Eventually, she died from anoxic encephalogy.
The hospital was sued for medical malpractice. An expert psychiatrist concluded that the staff was negligent in providing the bathrobe, in failing to perform a belongings search, and in failing to conduct appropriate 15 minute checks.
The Plaintiffs further uncovered altered medical records, with regards to when the hospital had last checked on the Plaintiff prior to her attempted suicide. The hospital's own policy was violated, in that they were supposed to conduct random room searches. It was also alleged by the Plaintiff that the hospital's treating psychiatrist failed to diagnose and properly treat the patient's condition. It was alleged that he should have increased the frequency of her checks and failed to order her room searched.
The case settled in mediation shortly after the complaint was filed. Total settlement was $1.7 million.
Even in the medical malpractice world, this is a very large settlement. The Plaintiff's counsel earned that by doing their discovery in a timely manner, searching through the records and getting their expert early, so settlement could be reached without the case progressing too far in litigation.
If you've been the victim of medical malpractice, or had a loved one die wrongfully at the hands of another, contact our office today for a free consultation.