River Oaks Hospital sued over restraint death of psychiatric patient

By Kyle Barnett | Sep 14, 2012

Tammy M. Nick GRETNA – The mother of a deceased man is suing a Jefferson Parish hospital and doctor over his death.

Tammy M. Nick

GRETNA – The mother of a deceased man is suing a Jefferson Parish hospital and doctor over his death.

Brenda Payne on behalf of the estate of Billy Leon Craven filed suit against River Oaks Inc., River Oaks Hospital and Alphonse Kennison Roy, II, M.D. in the 24th Judicial District Court on Aug. 2.

Payne claims her son Craven was receiving care at River Oaks on July 28, 2009 when he died. The plaintiff alleges her son was admitted to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. Craven is said to have had multiple health conditions including loss of hearing, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism and schizophrenia. Payne asserts that Craven was denied a call to his mother when he asked the staff if she could come to the hospital to help him communicate because his hearing aide was malfunctioning. Craven was allegedly placed in restraints for over four hours during the ordeal.

The plaintiff claims the next day when she was allowed to visit her son he was acting very unusual and that she informed the staff. The following day Craven was allegedly looking for his glasses in a common area of the hospital when he was ordered to leave the area and then forcibly restrained when he did not comply. The plaintiff alleges that Craven was physically restrained by hospital staff, placed in restraints, shot up with sedatives and had a staff member sitting on his chest. Payne claims that shortly afterward hospital staff noticed Craven was not breathing, his lips had turned blue and vomit was dripping from his mouth. Upon the discovery of Craven's condition CPR was allegedly utilized unsuccessfully and Craven was pronounced dead.

The defendant is accused of failing to use reasonable care and diligence when evaluating and treating Craven, failing to protect Craven from dangers, increasing the patient's agitation, failing to learn and identify emotional triggers and environmental stressors that would agitate Craven, failing to provide adequate staff and proper training straining for staff, failing to exercise reasonable care in assisting Craven in finding his glasses, failing to properly evaluate and failing to identify medical risk factors such as as the patient's health conditions before restraining him.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for conscious physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, stress, frustration, emotional damages, medical bill and expenses and loss of enjoyment of life.

Payne is represented by Slidell-based attorney Tammy M. Nick.

The case has been assigned to Division A Judge Raymond S. Steib.

Case no. 717-786.

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