Man Blames Hospital for Deaths of Wife & Kids

     CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) – A woman with a family history of bipolar disorder and suicide killed her three children and herself a day after being released from a hospital’s psychiatric care, her husband claims in court.
     Leonard Adewunmi sued Mercy Hospital St. Louis, West County Physicians and Dr. Saad Khan in two nearly identical complaints, in St. Louis County Court.
     He seeks damages for his wife Christine’s suicide in one and damages for the deaths of his children – Lauren, Samantha and Kate – in the other.
     Lauren was 8, Samantha was 6 and Kate was 3 when Christine shot them all in the head on March 16, 2012, before turning the gun on herself, the complaint states.
     Adewunmi claims that the day before, Christine was a patient in Mercy’s Behavioral Health Outpatient Department. He claims that during the intake evaluation, Mercy employee Joann Bova (not a party to the complaint) learned that Christine was there due to a family intervention caused by her increased depression, that she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, that she was under the care of psychiatrists Cynthia Florin and Luis Guiffra for bipolar disorder and suicidal ideations, that Christine hadn’t taken her anti-depression medications for two days and that she had suicidal ideations without a current plan or intent.
     Adewunmi claims: “That at the conclusion of the evaluation, Bova made the following risk assessment: a. That Christine was suicidal. b. The Christine was willing to harm herself. C. The suicidal ideations were expressed by Christine and observed by Bova. d. That Christine was resistant to treatment. e. That Christine’s father’s brother committed suicide.”
     Adewunmi claims Bova paged Khan, the on-call psychiatrist, during the evaluation, and that Khan admitted Christine into the hospital’s intensive outpatient program starting the next day.
     He claims: “That at approximately 1:05 p.m., on March 15, 2012, the intake evaluation at defendant Mercy ended and Christine was discharged 65 minutes after the intake began. Neither Christine nor Bova informed plaintiff, Leonard A. Adewunmi, of the plan for Christine to be admitted to the Mercy Intensive Outpatient Program at 8:00 a.m., on March 16, 2012. Christine informed plaintiff, Leonard A. Adewunmi, that no further treatment was needed at defendant Mercy and Christine and plaintiff, Leonard A. Adewunmi, returned to their residence with their children.
     “That Bova did not interview Christine’s husband, plaintiff Leonard A. Adewunmi, who was present at the Behavioral Health Outpatient Department on March 15, 2012.
     Adewunmi claims that if Bova had interviewed him, he would have told Bova that Christine’s therapist had referred her for inpatient care, that Christine had taken their daughters on trips in the family car and brought them home late at night twice, that Christine was suicidal and expressed a willingness to kill herself, that Christine had been looking up ways to kill herself online, and that Christine did not want him in the interview because she was going to lie about her condition to Bova.
     The next day, instead of going into Mercy’s outpatient therapy, Christine shot their children and herself in the head while her husband was at work.
     Adewunmi says the defendants failed to conduct a proper intake interview, failed to interview him, failed to contact Christine’s psychiatrists and therapist, failed to notify him of Christine’s admission into the outpatient program, failed to notify him when Christine failed to show up for the outpatient program at 8 a.m. the next day and failed to determine that Christine posed potential harm to herself and others.
     He claims: “That had Christine been admitted to defendant Mercy on March 15, 2012, her hospitalization, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, would have permanently prevented her suicide.
     “That as a direct and proximate result of the negligence of defendant Mercy, decedents, Lauren, Samantha and Kate died on March 16, 2012.”
     Adewunmi seeks damages for wrongful death. He is represented by Stephen F. Meyerkord with Meyerkord & Meyerkord in St. Louis.

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