The article also cites suicide watch schedules and objects risky to suicidal patients as other hazards to suicidal inpatients. Out of 36,909 that take place each year in the United States, approximately 1,500 of them are inpatient suicides, in which a hospital patient takes his or her own life.
People end their lives in hospitals for many reasons and using various suicide methods, according to Simpson. He says when an inpatient dies from suicide, the most important factor is how he was assessed when he was first admitted. According to the study, which took place between 1995 and 2005, suicide risk was not adequately assessed in approximately 60% of suicides or the level of risk was not handled with proper precautions.
Simpson attests that many suicides occur due to insufficient hospital patient suicide risk level assessment. “While most people use whichever hospital is closest or go by a referral,” he says, “it's wise to research a facility to find a psychiatric hospital that fits your needs and provides quality suicide patient care. If you need more information, our website recently posted an excellent blog on what a loved one should know about inpatient safety.”
The article also identifies another problem that is common in sentinel reports, peer reviews and malpractice litigation: inadequate monitoring and protection of new patients with moderate or high suicide risk, or with unknown risk. The use of 15-minute checks, it says, should be avoided in seriously suicidal patient or those with uncertain suicide risk levels.
Simpson says, “The 15-minute checks should be avoided anytime a patient is deemed suicidal. Assessment abilities are not fine-tuned enough to be guessing about whether the patient is ‘seriously suicidal’ or not.”
According to Psychiatric Times, it only takes 4 or 5 minutes of adequate pressure on the carotid arteries in a person’s neck to produce death by oxygen deprivation to the brain.
Simpson concurs. “Some hospitals will check a suicidal patient every 15 minutes, believing that is an adequate time period,” he explains. “This is known as a ‘Q15’ classification, a category assigned to patients who must be visually checked every 15 minutes. A suicidal patient who hangs himself, however, may suffer irreversible brain damage within about three minutes and be dead in six to eight, depending on various factors.”
Any family who has suffered the loss of a loved one due to a loved one who committed suicide in a hospital or killed herself or himself in a psychiatric facility should seek the help of an experienced suicide attorney by calling 1(214)618-8222 or visiting http://www.skipsimpson.com.
About The Law Offices of Skip Simpson
For over twenty years, Skip Simpson has been practicing law, focusing on psychiatric and psychological malpractice, suicide lawsuits, as well as personal injury civil, commercial and criminal litigation. Nationally recognized for his expertise in suicide law, he is considered a pioneer in the filed of suicide litigation and has represented families who have lost loved ones to suicide around the country.
The Law Offices of Skip Simpson
2591 Dallas Parkway, Suite 300
Frisco, Texas 75034
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