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Failed suicide attempt ends in later death

The level of care at mental health facilities is a matter of concern for the families of patients who are there. The general public is beginning to take more notice due to the growing publicity surrounding mass shootings. Florida residents may recall those at a Connecticut elementary school and a Colorado theater as relatively recent examples. A star of "The Young and the Restless," Kristoff St. John, brought his son to La Casa Mental Health Rehabilitation Center in Long Beach, California, in September 2014. The 24-year-old committed suicide less than three months later.

The younger St. John suffered from drug use in addition to schizophrenia. St. John's wife claims that if her son had received proper care, he would not have died. Three weeks before his death, the man had attempted suicide using a plastic bag. St. John says that while the facility agreed to remove all plastic bags from access, the younger St. John still was able to commit suicide using a plastic bag.

St. John's wife says that the staff was to check on her son every 15 to 30 minutes, but that they failed to do so while logging checks in their books. According to the parents, the facility falsified the time when the 911 call occurred to report the death and wrongly claimed that periodic checks on their son were being made by staff members.

When a death occurs because of the actions of a caregiver, the family members of the decedent have to live with the knowledge that their loved one's death was preventable. At such times, it may be possible to hold the caregiver responsible by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. In order for such a lawsuit to be successful, negligence has to be established.

Source: CBS News, "Soap star blames mental health facility for son's suicide", May 28, 2015

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