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Wisconsin wrongful death suit alleges negligence at Mendota

Patients in any mental health facility have the right to receive care befitting their conditions. Unfortunately, these facilities do not always pay the salaries needed to hire qualified personnel, and they may cut corners by not providing necessary training to employees. One woman experienced this reality firsthand after the death of her son in the Mendota Health Institute.

The woman has recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit naming several defendants, including Mendota, her son's doctor and the state of Wisconsin. Her son, who was schizophrenic, committed suicide during confinement in a seclusion room, and his body was not found until an estimated 18 hours later by hospital staff. During this time, personnel were presumably making checks every 15 minutes. The mother called to speak with her son, and a psychiatric technician informed her of his unresponsiveness.

The facility was cited by the Wisconsin Division of Quality Assurance following the incident, but there has been no word of fines or consequences for the relevant employees. The lawsuit alleges that negligence of the doctor and other health care workers was the cause of death. Mendota officials agreed to train employees to conduct more comprehensive bed checks in the future.

The loss of a loved one is never easy, but it is often made worse by the knowledge that a professional's negligence was the cause. A wrongful death lawsuit may be able to help surviving family members recover from the trauma and receive compensation for both funeral expenses and their pain and suffering. An attorney with experience in litigating wrongful death lawsuits may be able to help in the formation of a case and collection of evidence.

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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