Amy L. Anderson and Joshua Bell try med mal suicide case to hung jury
Plaintiff presented to the emergency room with his wife on August 3, 2010, reporting for a brief moment he had considered shooting himself with his gun, difficulty sleeping and anxiety about reduced work as a carpenter. His wife was pregnant and due with their second son with a C-section scheduled for 3 days later. In talking to the defendant, emergency room doctor, he denied thinking of using his gun to shoot himself and reported the gun was locked in a cabinet and his wife had the key. They discussed a possible inpatient treatment option, but he wanted to be present for the birth of his son. Instead, he was given an appointment for an outpatient day hospitalization that would start before the delivery date, he was given a prescription for a sleep medication recommended by the on call psychiatrist, he was given the ame of the psychiatrist, a hot line number to call and instructed to get the gun out of the house and return if he had increased thoughts of suicide. Upon returning home, plaintiff and his wife decided to return the gun to Cabellas. The wife gave him the locked box with the gun in it to place in the car. He cut the lock from the box and shot himself in the head in front of his 4 year old son and wife an hour and a half after being discharged from the ER.
The defense contended that plaintiff was evaluated by a social worker and 2 nurses in the ER in addition to the Defendant. He denied having a suicide plan to each of these care providers. He was cuddling with his wife throughout the four hours he was in the ER. He had a good support system at home and he had events to look forward to. Based on his presentation in the ER and the denial of a suicide plan, Plaintiff was not certifiable for involuntary admission. He was offered and refused a voluntary inpatient treatment plan and he agreed to the outpatient treatment plan that was ordered for him. The defendant also filed affirmative defenses against the plaintiff for his contribution to his death in failing to follow the discharge plan and instructions. After over 10 hours of deliberations over 2 days, the jury was deadlocked. A high low agreement had been reached after closing arguments that addressed the possibility of a hung jury.