Improper Suicide Watch

The importance of monitoring a suicidal patient

A crucial part of maintaining the safety of suicidal patients is keeping an eye on them. A "suicide watch" provides constant attention and prevents a patient from leaping out of a window or hanging him or herself with a sheet, towel, article of clothing or an oxygen cord. A hospital or a doctor may be held liable for failing to order a proper suicide watch and making sure the environment of care is safe.

A patient should have no way to end his or her life in a hospital. Monitoring the patient (constantly, if necessary) is often a necessary element of suicide prevention. Unfortunately, suicide does occur in hospitals about 6 times every day in the United States. These deaths are needless and preventable deaths.

Monitoring every 15 minutes for a suicidal patient is never enough

Some hospitals will check a suicidal patient every 15 minutes, believing that is an adequate time period. This is known as a "Q15" classification, a category assigned to patients who must be visually checked every 15 minutes. A suicidal patient, however, can take his or her own life within 15 minutes. For example, someone who hangs himself may suffer irreversible brain damage within about three minutes and be dead in 8 minutes.

In some cases, staff members are not attentive enough. There have been reports of staff members sleeping or doing other duties instead of checking patients. Most often this is a function of a hospital being understaffed. Inadequate staffing and poor training are the direct result of a hospital putting money before safety.

How a lawyer can help

If you lost a loved one due to suicide, speak with an experienced lawyer. Call 214-618-8222 or reach our offices by filling out the online contact form. We work passionately for our clients with the goal of holding the responsible individual parties accountable for their negligent actions. Your consultation with us is free and confidential.

We realize your case is not about money alone. It's about justice, about holding irresponsible people and hospitals accountable for their actions.

The Law Offices of Skip Simpson - we're on your side.