It is unusual for a hospital to admit its mistakes in the midst of a medical malpractice lawsuit. So it is surprising and encouraging to learn that a Chicago-area hospital did just that after one of its patients committed suicide while in the facility’s care. The hospital, Linden Oaks Psychiatric Hospital in Naperville, also recently settled a medical malpractice suit filed by the patient’s family for $1.65 million.
The patient, 17, was being treated at the hospital when he died on March 10, 2012. Though few details are known, court records from the case indicate that he was able to take steps toward committing suicide the previous day. The teenager’s family said that Linden Oaks staff failed to properly monitor him or track his physical state, which could have prevented the suicide.
The parties settled the case in late June. In addition to the financial part of the settlement, Linden Oaks has changed its procedures to reduce the chances of a similar tragedy from happening again, the parents’ attorney said. Without going into detail, the attorney said that the hospital was “extremely forthcoming” with its willingness to do so. Hospital officials also expressed their sorrow and regret to the teen’s parents over his death and the facility’s role in it, the attorney said.
He called the hospital’s openness and genuine expression of regret “refreshing.” The hospital released a statement saying that staff and officials were “deeply saddened” by the patient’s death.
Indeed, it is somewhat unusual for a physician or facility to work with a medical malpractice victim to improve procedures.
Source: Daily Herald, “Naperville hospital settles teen suicide case for $1.65 million,” Josh Stockinger, June 27, 2013