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California Settles Inadequate Psychiatric, Medical Care Suit for $1.5 Million

On May 16, 1996, the State of California agreed to settle for $1.5 million
a lawsuit arising from the attempted suicide of a 21-year-old prisoner who
was left permanently disabled.

Though the plaintiff was known to be suicidal, prison psychiatrists failed
to take available measures to prevent the suicide. On January 15, 1990, the
plaintiff attempted suicide via a drug overdose. He was placed in a
non-suicide-proof cell four days later, where he received no psychiatric
care. That day the plaintiff used a sheet to hang himself from a vent in
the wall.

After the suicide attempt the plaintiff received inadequate care in the
prison infirmary. The plaintiff suffered anoxic brain damage, permanent
contractures, and paralysis (quadriparesis) in all extremities. He
subsequently received a medical parole. The plaintiff's lawsuit contended
prison psychiatrists and medical doctors were deliberately indifferent to
his psychiatric and medical needs and negligent in providing psychiatric
and medical care.

The suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of California, settled for $1.5 million.

The plaintiff's expert witnesses included Cassandra Newkirk, M.D. of
Atlanta, Georgia, and Edward Kaufman, M.D. of Dana Point, California (both
psychiatry/prison systems); L.L. Trigiano, M.D. of San Francisco,
California (physiatrist); Carol Hyland of Lafayette, California
(rehabilitation); and Dale Pletcher, D.B.A. of Sacramento, California

The plaintiff was represented by attorneys Richard A. Seltzer, Ann
M. Hansen and Margaret Z. Johns of the Oakland, California law firm Seltzer
& Cody. See: Davey v. Ylst, USDC ED CA, Case No. CIV-S-94-0151 WBS JFM.

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Related legal case

Davey v. Ylst

No additional information is available.