Cases Raise Serious Concerns About Standard of Hospital Care
HAMILTON, ON, Oct. 30, 2017 /CNW/ - The families of two patients, who were able to take their own lives while they were supposed to be under close hospital supervision, have each filed $8.5 million negligence suits against St. Joseph's Health System and members of its staff.
"A hospital should be the safest place possible for people in crisis," said Michael Smitiuch of Smitiuch Injury Law PC, the lawyer representing the families of Brandon Taylor and Joel Verge. "These families are raising questions about a serious lapse in common sense protocols at a hospital that's contending with numerous recent patient suicides."
On August 15, 2016, 29-year old Brandon Taylor was rushed to St. Joseph's after attempting to take his life by an alcohol and drug overdose. He was admitted to the psychiatric unit, where he was supposed to be monitored by staff every 15 minutes. On August 18, shortly after a nurse reassured his mom that he would be safe, Brandon took his own life at the West 5th Campus. Leading up to his death, Brandon was permitted to keep his cell phone, which he used to research his method of suicide.
On October 19, 2016, 42-year old Joel Verge admitted himself to St. Joseph's to get help with mental health and substance abuse issues. On October 25, he tried to take his own life in the hospital washroom. On November 2, after members of staff were directed to scan his room for risk items and while he was under one on one "constant observation" Joel attempted suicide and was found unresponsive. He was taken off life support and pronounced dead on November 9.
Smitiuch alleges in each Statement of Claim that Joel and Brandon died as a direct result of hospital and staff negligence by failing to properly monitor the men and allowing them access to materials that they used to take their own lives.
"Brandon and Joel's suicides are a painful reminder of a systematic problem that urgently needs to be addressed in hospitals right across Ontario," added Smitiuch. "Families have been waiting more than two years for the province to introduce new standards to help prevent hospital suicides. Sadly, they're still waiting."
Eleven people being treated as in-patients, out-patients and while on day passes at St. Joseph's Health System have taken their own lives over the past two years. The hospital has made recommendations following an external review.
SOURCE Smitiuch Injury Law PC