Patient Sues Scientology-Based Clinic
SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) - A man tried to kill himself at a Scientology-affiliated detox clinic after its "purification rundown" took him off his prescribed medicines in a "quick taper," the man claims in court.
William Sweeney sued Pur Detox, and Dr. Allan Sosin in Orange County Superior Court, alleging negligence, medical malpractice and negligent supervision.
The Church of Scientology is not a party to the lawsuit.
Sweeney says he "suffered severe personal injuries" when he jumped off a third-floor balcony at the Dana Point clinic, where he had checked in for drug and alcohol problems.
He claims the clinic weaned him off his psychiatric medications through Scientology's "purification rundown," which uses exercise, vitamins and long stints in the sauna.
"Pur Detox Inc. is a Church of Scientology-affiliated facility which has a policy of quickly weaning clients off of psychiatric medications," the complaint states. Sweeney says the clinic "uses the detoxification program known as the Purification Rundown, which was developed by Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard."
After a 20-minute consultation with Sosin, Sweeney says, he was weaned off his medications, including the anti-opiate Suboxone and the anti-psychotic Seroquel.
During that week, Sweeney claims, he was often left unsupervised, Sosin saw him only once, and never asked if he was suffering from withdrawal.
"On or about December 11, 2011, during the 'quick taper' period, Pur Detox staff members took plaintiff to the third floor of the residence. Plaintiff was led out onto a third floor balcony and told to do certain 'visualization' exercises. After the exercise on the balcony plaintiff returned downstairs, where he was left alone," the complaint states.
"Instead of monitoring an observing plaintiff, the staff member assigned to him went to sleep on another level of the residence. At approximately 6:00 p.m. plaintiff returned to the unsecured third-floor, went out onto the unsecured balcony through an unlocked and unalarmed sliding door, and attempted suicide by jumping off the balcony."
Sweeney says the fall left him with multiple fractures and a 4-week stay in a hospital.
He seeks punitive damages, medical and incidental costs, and lost and impaired future earnings.
He is represented by Gordon Phillips.