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Family sues psychiatric hospital after loved one's death

Placing a loved one in a psychiatric care facility in Massachusetts can be one of the toughest decisions a person can be make. However, when a person can no longer properly care for him or herself or needs psychiatric treatment, this may be the only option. During this delicate period, family members undoubtedly have many concerns for their loved one. Worries over how staff at the psychiatric facility will properly care and treat their loved one should not be one of them. However, after a patient died as a result of blunt-force injuries, her family was left with many questions regarding her care.

In 2010 after displaying aggressive behavior, the 41-year-old woman was moved from a home for people with developmental disabilities to Arbour-Fuller Hospital in Attleboro, Massachusetts in order to receive intensive psychiatric treatment. Just one month later she died after being taken to another hospital for head trauma and bruises that covered her body.

Although the woman was supposed to be under constant supervision, her caregivers in the psychiatric unit could not explain how she became injured. The woman’s family filed a lawsuit against the hospital for gross negligence. They claim that inadequate staffing may have contributed to her condition.

The Disabled Persons Protection Commission determined that there were no signs that the staff at the hospital provided enough intervention to keep the woman from hurting herself. In addition, the medical examiner who performed the woman’s autopsy reported said that some of the woman’s injuries could not have been caused by herself, but that another person would have had to have inflicted them.

Hopefully the woman’s family can receive a certain level of closure through this medical negligence lawsuit and be able to receive proper compensation for her pain and suffering and death.

Source: Boston Globe, “Staff failures cited in deaths at Arbour psychiatric centers,” Chelsea Conaboy, Sep. 1, 2013

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