On July 10, 2014, a psychiatric medical malpractice lawsuit was filed against a Florida hospital for the death of a 32-year-old psychiatric patient who was strangled by another psychiatric patient with a history of violence and who had been placed in the same hospital room. The man who was strangled by his roommate had been admitted to the Florida hospital’s psychiatric ward two weeks prior and was being treated for depression; he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia when he was young.
According to the psychiatric malpractice lawsuit filed by the mother of the man who was strangled, her son was found lying on the floor, unresponsive, on June 26, 2014. After it was determined that the man had been strangled, his roommate told investigators that he strangled the man using his hands and a bed sheet. The 31-year-old homeless roommate was arrested and jailed without bond on a charge of first-degree murder. He is scheduled to be arraigned on the murder charge on July 18, 2014.
The assailant had been placed in the same room as the murdered patient earlier on the same day that the victim was found unresponsive on the floor. The assailant had a long history of 12 prior arrests in Florida as well as arrests in North Carolina, including for assault, theft, larceny, possession of marijuana, and possession of a controlled substance; he had served jail time in North Carolina after assaulting a woman. The murdered man was last seen at 2:45 p.m. – he was found lying facedown on the floor by a hospital housekeeper at 3:36 p.m.
The Florida psychiatric malpractice lawsuit alleges that the Florida hospital was negligent for putting both men in the same room without proper security and supervision in light of the criminal and violent history of the assailant and the inability of the victim to protect himself.
The victim’s 49-year-old mother visited her son every day in the psychiatric ward of the Florida hospital, spending his birthday with him on June 21st. Shortly after learning about her son’s violent death on June 26th, the mother stated, “I can’t have anything against the man because that man is sick. But that hospital didn’t take care of my son … If they had checked him on time, it could have been better. My son may have lived, because they may have been able to revive him. But they left him to choke on the floor.”
Many psychiatric patients are vulnerable to physical and other harm. Many may be nonviolent but are at risk for being harmed by others. When those suffering from psychiatric conditions are admitted for inpatient psychiatric hospital care, the psychiatric wards/floors are often locked and sufficient supervision and security are required to prevent harm to patients and others (including those treating psychiatric patients).
If a member of your family or other loved one suffered injuries or other harms as a result of negligent psychiatric care in the United States, you should promptly contact a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate a possible psychiatric malpractice claim for you and represent the injured person in a psychiatric malpractice case, if appropriate.
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