On March 16, 2015, the mother of a teenage daughter who committed suicide while receiving mental health treatment in a residential facility in Vermont filed a mental health malpractice lawsuit against the Vermont mental health treatment facility, alleging that the defendant’s negligence led to her daughter taking her own life.
The mental health lawsuit was filed in federal court in Vermont and alleges that the plaintiff’s daughter was admitted to the defendant mental health treatment facility on April 29, 2014, for help regarding her depression and suicide ideation. One week after she was admitted, the teenager was found unresponsive in her room. She was successfully resuscitated and sent to the hospital for treatment but died on July 1, 2014 due to her injuries.
The mother’s federal mental health lawsuit alleges that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care and skill in the care, monitoring, supervision, and treatment of the teenager’s depression and suicide ideation, which led to her suicide attempt and her death from her injuries.
The plaintiff seeks compensatory damages in excess of $75,000 for the medical expenses incurred, funeral expenses, the loss of the teenager’s earning capacity, and the deprivation of the teenager’s ability to carry on and enjoy life’s activities due to the failure of the defendant mental health facility to use reasonable care in treating and responding to the teenager’s mental health needs.
The grieving mother hopes that her lawsuit will help ensure that the defendant puts in place procedures to avoid future tragedies so that other mothers and fathers do not have to suffer her mental anguish and so that no other young person who suffers from mental illness or depression fails to receive the appropriate care and treatment necessary to properly treat their mental health conditions.
It is reported that the defendant mental health facility was the site of a suicide by a 13-year-old girl on January 3, 2014, and another suicide and an additional death during the preceding two years.
The defendant has not yet formally responded to the lawsuit but did state through a spokesperson, “This was a tragic event and the family has our deepest sympathy. Since litigation has been initiated, further comment would be inappropriate.”
According to a 2010 report by the CDC regarding mortality rates among teenagers between ages 12 and 19 in the United States for the years 1999 through 2006, an average of 16,375 U.S. teenagers between the ages of 12 and 19 died every year from 1999 to 2006, which represents less than 1% of all U.S. deaths per year. The five leading causes of death among teenagers are accidents (unintentional injuries), homicide, suicide, cancer, and heart disease, with accidents accounting for almost one-half of all teenage deaths (motor vehicle fatality is the leading cause of death to teenagers among accidental deaths, representing over one-third of all teenage deaths).
If you lost a loved one due to suicide for which faulty mental health care may have contributed to the death, you should find a medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state who may investigate your negligent mental health care claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a mental health malpractice case, if appropriate.
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