Florida Mental Hospital Ignored Pregnant Patient’s Pleas for Help

It was December of 2011 and an involuntarily committed pregnant mental patient with schizophrenia, fearing that she was about to give birth at Florida’s largest mental hospital, repeatedly called 911 from the hospital, complaining that there was nobody in the hospital who could or would help her.

According to The Miami Herald, despite numerous pleas from the patient, the mental hospital caregivers refused to help her and actually refused to believe she was in labor. One supervisor at the hospital, who spoke with a 911 dispatcher the night of the incident allegedly said, “This is a mental hospital. She says she’s going into labor; she’s not going into labor … Can’t send her nowhere now.”

However, she was in labor and hours later she gave birth to a son who had severe brain damage due to labor complications. He is still on a ventilator and will probably always be on one.

These, and other details, were released in an 88-page report from the inspector general of the Department of Children & Families, which looked into how the Florida State Hospital in Chattahoocha – the largest mental hospital in Florida – handled the December 23 incident involving one of their patient’s who had a high risk pregnancy.

The report found that the facility was poorly equipped to handle a high-risk pregnancy; was woefully understaffed; and did not have policies in place to ensure that the patient was properly cared for.

The father of the patient told The Miami Herald that if his grandson survives, he will require a lifetime of around-the clock medical care. As to how the mental hospital treated his daughter, he told reporters, “It seemed like people did not care – from the top down.”

If negligence on the part of a caregiver, medical professional, or a medical institution results in harm to you or somebody you love, contacting a medical malpractice attorney in Florida at Farah & Farah should be your first step when seeking competent and skillful legal counsel. Call us at (800) 533-3555. We are here to see that your legal rights are protected.