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Akron Hospital Faces Malpractice Lawsuit After Psychiatric Patient’s Suicide

There are approximately 1,600 deaths due to suicide each year in Ohio, according to figures from the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation. While every suicide is tragic, when a person ends up taking their own life due to poor or substandard medical care, the victim’s family may have a claim for medical malpractice under Ohio law.

Lawsuit: Summa Personnel Left Victim in Burning Building for Hours

A recent lawsuit filed in Summit County offers a particularly disturbing tale of a psychiatric hospital’s alleged failure to keep a now-deceased patient safe. The victim was an 18-year-old woman. According to the victim’s mother, her daughter’s death was the direct result of the care she received at two hospitals run by Summa Health, which is one of the defendants in this case.
Shortly before 1 a.m. on October 14, 2017, the victim went to the emergency room at Summa Akron City Hospital. Medical personnel diagnosed the victim with “acute depression” and “suicidal ideation.” The Akron City staff then transferred the victim to a second Summa facility known as Center 5, which specializes in adult psychiatric care.
The mother’s lawsuit alleges Summa took more than eight hours to diagnose and admit her daughter to Center 5. And shortly after arriving at Center 5, a “fire broke out causing the evacuation of the hospital.” The lawsuit says the victim “was abandoned” by Center 5 personnel “and left behind alone” in a locked room “while the building was on fire after an evacuation had supposedly been completed.” Emergency personnel later rescued the victim and took her back to Akron City Hospital for treatment of possible smoke inhalation.
The lawsuit then alleges Akron City personnel then released the victim without ever providing any “substantive treatment” for her original psychiatric issues. On October 16, less than two days after she first entered the Akron City emergency room, the victim “committed suicide by hanging, just like she told Summa that she was going to do.”
As is common with medical malpractice lawsuits, the complaint in this case alleges a number of failures by Summa and its employees to adhere to the “proper standard of care” for physicians in Ohio. For example, the lawsuit cites the alleged failure to immediately hospitalize the victim “in light of [her] high suicide risk.” The lawsuit maintains this and other failures were the “direct and proximate” cause of the victim carrying out her earlier threat–which she communicated to Summa personnel–to commit suicide by hanging.
The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $25,000.

Contact the Cleveland Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Tittle & Perlmuter Today

At one time or another, we all rely on hospitals and other healthcare providers to care for family members who are in serious distress. So when these providers are negligent, and the result is our loved one’s death, it is important to hold them accountable through the legal system. An experienced Cleveland medical malpractice attorney can advise and guide you through this process.
Contact Tittle & Perlmuter today at (216) 308-1522 if you need to speak with a lawyer today.

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