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Suit filed against Mendota Mental Health Institute

A suit has been filed against Mendota Health Institute and the state of Wisconsin by the mother of a schizophrenic man who committed suicide by strangling himself while in the institute's care in April of 2010. At the time of his death, he had been placed in a seclusion room where was supposed to be continually monitored; however, institute staff failed to notice that he was dead for 18 hours.

The woman who filed the wrongful death suit tried to contact her son the night before his suicide but was unable to speak with him. She was told that he was unresponsive both for supper and when he was asked whether he wanted to make a phone call. She didn't hear back from the hospital the rest of the night.

The 27-year-old man was committed to the institute in April of 2009 and was charged with battery in connection with incidents at Mendota in May and November of 2009. Treatment reports indicated that the man had been suffering from restlessness and anxiety prior to his death. In the month after the man's death, the facility was cited by the state's Division of Quality Assurance for failing to "take reasonable steps to ensure the physical safety of all patients."

Regardless of whether or not this incident has prompted the Wisconsin institute to improve its training and security, it is too late for this unfortunate mother and her son. The loss of a son or daughter can cause unimaginable distress and emotional scarring. A personal injury lawyer may be able to help families of victims of negligence get compensation for their pain and suffering by analyzing the situation and determining the best course of action for his or her clients.

Source: Wisconsin State Journal, "Mom of man who committed suicide at Mendota files wrongful death suit," Ed Treleven, Feb. 13, 2013

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