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New Medical Malpractice Trial Following Hospital Suicide

Written by Berkowitz

The Connecticut Appellate Court has ordered a new medical malpractice trial against the psychiatric facility Silver Hill Hospital and a psychiatrist there. The case involves the suicide of a patient, Ruth Farrell, a 41-year-old librarian, who killed herself at the facility. Farrell checked herself into the hospital to get treatment for depression and personality disorder.

During a previous stay at the same facility, Farrell had attempted suicide by trying to hang herself from the bathroom door of her room. For this reason the admitting doctor ordered that Farrell’s bathroom door be locked, and that she be supervised by staff full-time.

The next day her treating psychiatrist, Ellyn Shander, ordered that the door be unlocked and that monitoring of Farrell should be reduced from full-time to once every fifteen minutes. Less than a week later, Farrell hung herself from the bathroom door.

The lawsuit was filed by the estate of the victim, whose executer, David Kervick, met Farrell while both were patients at Silver Hill.

“We met and became friends,” he said. “She was a very sweet, fragile woman who deserved better.”

In a previous trial a jury found that the hospital was not liable for the suicide. The new trial was ordered when Kervick’s lawyer successfully argued that the jury may have been biased.

The judge had failed to ask jurors if they were influenced by a newspaper story which was published by The New York Times just days before the start of the trial. It alleged that Farrell had told staffers that Kervick tied her up and forced her to watch pornography at his home about a month before she checked into the hospital.

Medical malpractice cases allow the victims of medical negligence to seek compensation from the doctors and institutions which cause serious injuries or death. Berkowitz and Hanna LLC has a long history of experience helping injured persons receive substantial verdicts and settlements following medical malpractice.

If you were injured or if your loved one died while in the care of a hospital or treatment facility, contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC to speak with an experienced Connecticut medical malpractice lawyer.