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Patient's Suicide Results in $12M Verdict Against Hospital, Nurse

by Joseph C. Maya on Jul. 14, 2017

Accident & Injury Medical Malpractice 

Summary: A blog post about a case out of Yale-New Haven in which a patient committed suicide after medication levels were lowered and the psychiatric nurse failed to monitor him.

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A New Haven jury has returned a $12 million verdict in a case brought by the estate of a man who committed suicide after his medication levels were reduced by Yale-New Haven Hospital and a psychiatric nurse allegedly failed to monitor his health.

According to the lawsuit, the decedent was admitted to the hospital in July 2009 because he was considering suicide. The hospital began to taper him off from a medication that he had been taking for about 10 years – a medication that, while addicting, had reportedly been helping him with his anxiety.

After 10 days in the hospital, the lawsuit says, the decedent was discharged into the care of a psychiatric advanced practice registered nurse at VNA Community Healthcare of Guilford. Plaintiff’s lawyers claim that the nurse saw the decedent only one time, and that she told him to come backin three months. Nine days later, when he was completely off of his medication, the decedent called his mother, drove to Bauer Park in Madison and then killed himself.

“The standard for good, responsible mental health care must be the same for everyone, rich or poor,” said one of the plaintiff’s lawyers.

The plaintiffs presented two expert witnesses, an advanced practice registered nurse and a psychiatrist who testified that the decedent’s care was below the standard of care. The defense presented another APRN who said she did meet the standard of care.

The lawyers claim the nurse failed to adequately and properly assess the decedent for physiological signs and symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal and that she should have facilitated getting him into an “intensive outpatient program.”

The case went to trial over the past three weeks in New Haven Superior Court before Judge Salvatore Agati. The jury deliberated for three hours and then awarded $12,032,500. The jury found Yale-New Haven Hospital liable for 65 percent of that amount and the nurse liable for 35 percent.

At Maya Murphy, P.C., our personal injury attorneys are dedicated to achieving the best results for individuals and their family members and loved ones whose daily lives have been disrupted by injury, whether caused by a motor vehicle or pedestrian accident, a slip and fall, medical malpractice, a defective product, or otherwise. Our attorneys are not afraid to aggressively pursue and litigate cases and have extensive experience litigating personal injury matters in both state and federal courts, and always with regard to the unique circumstances of our client and the injury he or she has sustained.

Source: CT Law Tribune

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