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Did failure to diagnose mental illness lead to jail suicide?

A Monterey-area hospital and physician are among a bevy of defendants accused of wrongful death in a lawsuit initiated by the mother of a man who committed suicide while in law enforcement custody.

All of the other named defendants are government agencies and officials, as well as the City of Monterey. The origins of the suit lie in the arrest and detention of a man suspected of murder. While he was being held in jail, he hung himself in his cell.

The alleged negligence of the two health care providers in question appears to be based on the mother’s claims that the accused murderer had been suffering from one or more mental disorders before his arrest.

The woman argues in her lawsuit that, the defendants failed to adequately diagnose the man’s mental health problems, which resulted in a failure to take appropriate action to prevent him from posing a danger to others and himself.

The individual physician and his company were allegedly negligent in their roles as medical services contractors to the jail facility in which the man hung himself.

The murderer was subject to harm by not being placed on a suicide watch while in jail, despite his attorney’s request this. He was eventually placed on suicide watch for a short time, but he was subsequently taken off if it before committing suicide.

The lawsuit accuses defendants of medical malpractice, violations of the 14th Amendment, wrongful death, and a failure to provide the man with medical care, among other things.

The outcome of this lawsuit remains to be seen.



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In over 25 years of practice on the defense side of malpractice cases, Jeff Mitchell is the attorney I fear most. He takes very good cases. Jeff has the medicine and the applicable literature down cold. He is without a doubt the best cross-examiner I have ever seen. I have paid his clients a lot of money over the years.
- John M.

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