Atlanta, GA (Law Firm Newswire) October 20, 2011 – Mentally ill people go to hospital for help. If they do not get it, the unthinkable can happen as it did in this case.
“This reported case is really an eye-opener,” said Robert Webb, an Atlanta personal injury lawyer with Webb & D’Orazio, a law firm specializing in personal injury, malpractice, criminal defense, and business law. “The man in this story was admitted to the mental health unit at his local hospital under the care of a doctor because he had shown suicidal tendencies and struggled with severe depression.”
When mentally ill people go to hospital for help, they need help right away. If they do not get it, often bad things happen, and it certainly did in this case. Rather than putting the man on a suicide watch and monitoring him closely, he was left alone and unsupervised. This was ultimately the worst thing anyone could have done. The consequences of leaving him alone were too awful to comprehend. The man used his bed linens to make a noose and hanged himself in the bathroom doorway in his room.
“You have to know that he was left alone for a long time in order for him to make a noose and then hang himself,” added Webb. “Death by hanging in that manner is not quick and easy. The fact that it happened in a mental ward, the very place the man had gone for help, is pure negligence. This man should never have been left alone, not with a history of being suicidal.”
The man’s wife chose to file a wrongful death lawsuit, naming the hospital, the doctor and the nurses on duty at the time of the hanging. The suit stated the defendants had clearly breached their duty of care to the man by not monitoring him. In other words, but for the fact that he was left alone, unmonitored and in a suicidal frame of mind, he might still be alive had he gotten the help he needed.
Other evidence submitted for trial alleged the defendants did not use the accepted standard of care when they evaluated the man initially, failed to create a treatment program and failed to order the proper supervision. The suit asks the court for punitive and compensatory damages. Will this suit be successful?
“It likely will be successful,” suggested Webb,” as most juries have a good idea of what is involved in admitting a patient with mental problems. They realize that if someone has a history of trying to take their own life, that if they don’t get the help they need immediately, they may succeed in killing themselves. The fact that this happened at a hospital in a mental ward just adds fuel to the fire.”
Not all wrongful death cases are clear cut, and it is best to consult with an Atlanta personal injury lawyer to determine what needs to be done to seek compensation for the loss of a relative. Wrongful death cases are civil lawsuits and they are decided by a preponderance of evidence. “This, and other legal issues, will be outlined by the Atlanta personal injury lawyer who clarifies your legal rights,” added Webb.
Webb & D’Orazio are Atlanta personal injury attorneys practicing personal injury law, business law, and criminal defense in Atlanta, Georgia.
Webb & D’Orazio
2551 Roswell Road
Marietta, GA 30062
Call: (800) 275-9144