Two New York City hospitals are being sued for the damages caused by the release of allegedly dangerous patients from their psychiatric wards. In the past month, two lawsuits have been filed against New York City hospitals alleging that the hospitals behaved in a negligent or careless manner when they released dangerous patients into the tri-state area. These patients then went on to physically attack the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
The first case involves Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, where a Queens man is suing the hospital after one of its patients pushed her husband in front of a subway car last year. Tragically, the man’s wife died as a result of the fall. According to the lawsuit, Bellevue never should have released the patient, Melanie Liverpool-Turner. Liverpool-Turner, a diagnosed schizophrenic, was allegedly ranting about killing transit riders while on an involuntary psychiatric hold at the hospital, according to filings with a Manhattan Supreme Court.
According to the lawsuit the doctors and nurses at Bellevue “failed to recognize [Liverpool-Turner] posed a danger to the public” even though she openly discussed her “ideations of pushing people in front of trains.” Released without a psychiatric evaluation by Bellevue, Liverpool-Turner committed the horrific act just three weeks after leaving Bellevue Hospital. Liverpool-Turner is charged with second-degree murder and is currently staying in a state mental health facility while awaiting trial. The widowed husband is also suing the New York City Transit Authority for negligence.
The second lawsuit filed against New York City hospitals involves the allegedly negligent release of a dangerous patient from Metropolitan Hospital in Harlem. According to the lawsuit, Francisco Perez threatened to kill Cynthia Gonzalez’s brother while a patient at the city-owned Metropolitan hospital last fall. Perez, who has a history of drug abuse, violent behavior, and mental illness, was released from Metropolitan hospital’s psychiatric ward, he did exactly that. Perez, who is charged with first-degree murder will undergo a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation in the next month to determine his mental capacity and fitness to stand trial.
According to Gonzalez, the hospital should be held responsible for negligently releasing a dangerous and mentally ill patient. “They didn’t do everything they possibly could have done to prevent something like this from happening. In the future, if this continues to happen, it’s just a flaw and they’re not fixing,” said the 19-year-old Gonzalez.
NYC Health and Hospitals declined to comment, citing patient confidentiality laws. Both defendants in the criminal cases have pled not guilty to the killings.