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Failure to appropriately supervise a patient leads to suicide

Often the injuries and deaths that occur when patients are under the care of medical personnel are entirely preventable. Such was the case when a patient bolted from security personnel and threw himself off a parking lot structure at the Jackson Memorial Hospital. The conclusion that the incident could have been prevented came after a state investigation into the unexpected death that occurred in Florida.

The man died as a result of his fall from the eighth floor of the structure. He was in the custody of a private security firm when the incident took place. The Florida Department of Children and Families revealed that there was more than enough "evidence to support the allegations of death due to neglect." The 50-year-old man was a patient with the South Florida State Hospital in Pembroke Pines.

According to reports, on June 6 three staff personnel took the man to a medical appointment at the facility. Afterwards, as they were getting off the elevator on the eighth floor of the parking garage, the man ran and hurled himself over the side.

According to the state's investigation, the security personnel were negligent in their failure to appropriately supervise a patient. It was, indeed, an earlier suicide attempt that got the man put into the South Florida State Hospital in the first place. During that attempt, he had jumped off a second-floor stairway at another Miami mental health facility, injuring himself severely. The man was under court and state supervision after a Miami-Dade judge declared him mentally unfit to stand trial on a 2006 arson charge.

Source: The Miami Herald, "Investigation finds negligence in patient's suicide at Miami hospital," David OValle, Nov. 9, 2011

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