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Suicide Wrongful Death Case

Large six-figure recovery - A young woman in her twenties with a long history of mental health problems and suicide attempts was admitted to a psychiatric ward after yet another suicide attempt. While in the hospital, she somehow came into possession of a plastic bag and succeeded in suffocating herself. Her parents filed a lawsuit against the hospital claiming that the staff on the psych unit failed to appropriately monitor their daughter. When people are admitted to psychiatric units after attempting suicide, the top priority of the staff is to keep the patient under close watch and to also make sure that they do not have access to objects that could be used to take their own life. Typically, the staff in a psychiatric unit is required to check on a patient at least every 15 minutes. In this case, there was a long gap in time where no one had checked on the patient and when someone finally came into her room, they found her lying on the bathroom floor with a plastic bag over her head. She apparently had taken the plastic bag from an unlocked supply closet.

Suicide cases normally present particular challenges, but this case was more compelling because the patient had already demonstrated through her prior attempts that she was serious about taking her life and, therefore, the hospital staff should have been watching her extremely closely.

The damages available in this case were somewhat limited because the young woman was not employed, nor was she married or the mother of any children. She lived at home with her parents and, therefore, the primary claim for damage was for the parents' loss of their relationship with their daughter.

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