Psychiatric nurse to pay $4.2 million in suicide lawsuit

Friday April 29, 2016

When many people hear the term medical malpractice, they usually assume a physician or surgeon is the person who is the focus of the lawsuit. However, that is not always true as a recent jury ruling showed.

A psychiatric nurse who worked at Yale-New Haven Hospital was caring for a man who was contemplating suicide in July 2009. The man had taken medication for anxiety for about 10 years. After spending 10 days in the hospital, the man was discharged and the nurse told him to return in three months. He had been tapered off his anxiety medication. Just nine days later, the man committed suicide.

The lawsuit was filed against the nurse and the hospital. The jury found that the nurse was 35 percent responsible for the man’s death. The hospital was found to be 65 percent responsible. The jury awarded the estate over $12 million, with $4.2 million to come from the nurse. The attorney representing the estate said that the professionals in the hospital did not meet the standard of care for responsible, good mental health care. He said, “[The patient] was at the lowest point in his life in 2009 — recently diagnosed with a chronic illness, unemployed, and coming off a ten year dependence on medication.”

Physicians are not the only medical professionals who can be held responsible for medical malpractice or negligence. If you believe that you or a loved one have suffered because of a nurse, physician or other medical professional who did not meet the standard of care, you may have cause to seek compensation.

Source: wtnh.com, “Jury orders Guilford nurse to pay $4.2M for patient’s death,” Macy Corica,, April 26, 2016

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