The parents of a 17-year-old incapacitated woman who is an inpatient in a New Jersey state-run psychiatric hospital have filed a lawsuit in federal court against the psychiatric hospital and some of its employees, alleging that the civil rights of their daughter were violated by their numerous acts of abuse towards their daughter.
The young woman was admitted to the defendant psychiatric hospital on August 17, 2013. The parents’ lawsuit alleges that the woman was the victim of extreme physical abuse on two occasions in October 2013, including a fall that caused her to be injured while she was under supervision. Then, in November 2013, she was again subjected to extreme physical abuse that resulted in severe physical and emotional harm, according to the parents’ federal lawsuit.
The parents allege in their lawsuit that their daughter was again injured in August 2014 when she fell out of her bed but received negligent medical care for her injuries. Then, in March 2015, the young woman was again injured when she fell from a chair restraint and received serious permanent dental injuries, allegedly due to the negligence of the psychiatric hospital’s employees.
The parents’ lawsuit alleges that the defendant employees intentionally and knowingly assaulted, battered, and otherwise inflicted serious personal injury upon their daughter, and that their actions were motivated by malice and a wanton disregard for the personal rights and sensitivities of their daughter.
The lawsuit filed against the psychiatric hospital and some of its employees seeks compensatory damages for their daughter’s injuries.
The defendant New Jersey psychiatric hospital is no stranger to controversy and concern: the U.S. Department of Justice has investigated the psychiatric hospital for alleged civil rights abuses that occurred between 2008 and 2012, although no action resulted from the federal investigation.
The federal investigation followed incidents during the preceding two years: one incident that involved a patient who was being supervised at the time he swallowed two eating utensils, which required emergency medical treatment; another incident where a patient who required constant supervision during meals and who was on a restricted diet choked on a candy bar that she obtained from a hospital snack bar; and in a third incident, a patient escaped from the facility and committed suicide when he was returned to the psychiatric hospital.
Investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice alleged in 2009 that patients at the New Jersey psychiatric hospital were living in unsafe conditions and were denied appropriate treatment and rehabilitation, with clinical teams and other employees relying too often on restraining patients in violation of their civil rights.
The CEO of the defendant psychiatric hospital was replaced in June 2015 following the results of an annual inspection that uncovered violations cited by inspectors from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
If a member of your family or other loved one suffered injuries or other harms as a result of negligent psychiatric care in New Jersey or in another U.S. state, you should promptly contact a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate a possible psychiatric malpractice claim for you and represent the injured person in a psychiatric malpractice case, if appropriate.
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