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Alleged failure to diagnose tragically ends in man's suicide

For most Massachusetts residents, the scenario sounds like something out of a bad dream: A patient is admitted to a hospital only to be discharged within hours then die less than two days later of the very illness for which he or she was originally seen at the hospital in the first place. Yet, allegedly, in another state, this is exactly what occurred. The patient's family is understandably unhappy about it and have filed a lawsuit alleging that the hospital's failure to diagnose or act when the patient clearly expressed suicidal thoughts resulted in his death.

The now-deceased 33-year-old individual, himself a doctor, called 911 on July 20, 2015 to report suicidal inclinations. He was taken for treatment to Wilkes-Barre General Hospital where he said that, for a number of weeks, he had been thinking about committing suicide by hanging himself. Medical records indicate that prior to his hospitalization he had been prescribed medication and was seeing a doctor who had also allegedly failed to accurately evaluate his mental condition, according to the complaint.

Despite the man's documented and clearly stated signs and symptoms of persistent depression and suicidal tendencies, hospital staff failed to contact his treating physician or any family members, according to reports. Staff went on to discharge the patient a mere few hours later. Tragically, less than two days following his release from the hospital, the man's parents discovered him dead from an apparent hanging in their basement.

Filed on behalf of the deceased's wife and his parents, the suit names as defendants the hospitals where the man was treated along with associated medical personnel. The lawsuit accuses the providers of gross negligence in their failure to diagnose the man's suicidal tendencies and depression, failure to alert his family and psychiatrist of his suicidal thoughts, and failure to get him the help and treatment he needed. Anyone in Massachusetts who has similarly lost a loved one, or who has suffered due to a health care professional's error or negligence, may benefit from consulting an attorney who has experience in cases involving medical malpractice.

Source:, "Late doctor's family sues W-B General", James Halpin, July 20, 2017

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