The day after Christmas in 2013, a mentally ill Connecticut man was permitted to visit his mother—without supervision. This man brutally stabbed and mutilated her with a hunting knife and fireplace poker. He was sentenced to 60 years in a maximum security state mental health facility, but this case did not stop there. The man’s estate is now suing the state mental health hospital—that had been treating the man before the murder happened—for negligence.
Though it is often impossible to sue a state facility, loopholes allowed this case to make it to the courtroom. The estate is seeking financial damages as well as claiming that negligence played a role in the events that led up to the murder of the mentally ill man’s mother.
The mental health hospital was allegedly well aware that the man had made increasingly violent threats against his mother’s well being. Not only did they permit him to leave the facility unsupervised, but they sent him directly to visit his mother, who he had allegedly made specific threats towards.
After reviewing the man’s medical and treatment record, one psychological medical professional believed that there was negligence in this case. Documents make clear that medical staff were aware that the man had ceased taking his medications as well as made violent threats towards his mother in particular. This professional suggested that the man should have been hospitalized for both his safety and others.
If you have questions about hospital negligence, speaking to an experienced attorney could be beneficial.
Source: Hartford Courant, “Lawsuit: State Negligent In Treating Mental Patient Who Killed His Mother”, Jon Lender, Dec.12, 2015