One of our negligence claims against a public mental health facility involved an avoidable – and unsuccessful – attempt at suicide leading to a brain injury.
Our client – a young woman – had been made the subject of an involuntary order and hospitalised in the “PICU” (or Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit) of a large mental health facility. Psychiatric Intensive Care Units are specialist wards within mental health units that provide inpatient mental health care, assessment and comprehensive treatment to those individuals who are experiencing the most acutely disturbed phase of a serious mental disorder.
Despite our client’s treating team having determined that close 15-minute observations were appropriate for her safety at the facility, she was allowed to take an unsupervised walk where she attempted suicide by means of hanging. Her attempt at suicide was unsuccessful but she was left with catastrophic injuries including traumatic brain injury. Negligence proceedings were commenced against the hospital for breaching its duty of care to our client and failing to keep her safe whilst under their care.
Prior to the incident, our client had been living independently in the community and had a responsible job of significant longevity. The attempt at suicide leading to brain injury resulted in her being no longer able to work, after sustaining her injury, and requiring gratuitous care in relation to her activities of daily living.
We successfully settled our client’s claim for an amount which compensated her for her pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of income and assistance.
If you or someone you care about needs support contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.
If you or someone you love has experienced medical negligence contact one of our expert lawyers today on 02 4929 3995.