December 4, 2012
A federal investigation has begun on the care of certain patients at state-run Texas psychiatric hospitals. According to the Houston Chronicle, the investigation stems from the death of a patient under the care of one of the facilities.
The patient was admitted to the Rusk State Hospital on May 14 to receive treatment for a number of psychological disorders, including an eating disorder. Witnesses say the woman was trying to kill herself by starving to death and hospital staff did little, if anything, to ensure she ate and stayed hydrated.
The victim refused most meals and fluids she was given and lost a total of nine pounds within nine days. Sixteen days after arriving at the facility, the woman died. An autopsy showed she died as a result of blood clots in her lungs, but a further examination by federal officials found her condition was brought on from malnutrition.
Typically, policy states patients with eating disorders are not to be admitted to state hospitals without a special plan of treatment. In the case of the victim, these policies were bypassed despite hospital staff being aware of her condition.
The Austin Personal Injury Lawyers with Daniel Stark Injury Lawyers say medical staff failing to follow proper procedures and not recognizing the severity of the patient’s condition could be considered negligence and grounds for a claim of Texas Medical Malpractice.