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Lawsuits allege medical malpractice at psychiatric hospital

Two families have lost their loved ones in California, and both attribute the deaths to medical malpractice. The families have filed separate lawsuits against Community Behavioral Health Center, a psychiatric hospital located in Fresno, after their loved ones died while in the hospital's care. Both lawsuits allege medical malpractice and wrongful death, claiming the hospital was negligent in its duty to keep their family members safe.

The person at the center of one lawsuit was taken to the hospital by ambulance in November 2014. The next day, she killed herself. In addition to the hospital, the lawsuit names two psychiatrists as defendants. The deceased's family is seeking compensatory and general damages for their loved one's death and for emotional distress.

The other lawsuit stems from the death of a female patient at the hospital who died of a heart attack following an attack by a male patient at the facility. According to the deceased's children, the attacker, who broke their mother's back, had a violent past and not only punched her, but also grabbed her neck and kicked her in the back after he had forced her onto the floor. After her back was broken, she died two weeks later of a heart attack, though her family contends she never had heart problems prior to the attack. The deceased's family is seeking general, specific and punitive damages following their loved one's death, as well as compensation for the pain and suffering she experienced prior to dying.

The Community Behavioral Health Center denies wrongdoing in both deaths. It remains to be seen whether the hospital or hospital staff will be held liable for these deaths, but California residents will surely hope that the families can gain some measure of peace following their loved ones' tragic deaths.

Source: The Fresno Bee, "Families sue Community Behavioral Health Center in Fresno for wrongful deaths," Barbara Anderson, Jan. 19, 2016

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