01/05/2015 09:54 EST | Updated 03/07/2015 05:59 EST

Mother Sues Vancouver Coastal Health Over Mentally Ill Daughter's Release

St. Mary's Hospital Foundation

A Sunshine Coast, B.C. woman is suing Vancouver Coastal Health, claiming her mentally ill daughter beat her with a baseball bat just hours after hospital officials released the teenager despite the concerns of her family.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has filed a claim in B.C. Supreme Court for damages she claims she sustained as a result of the beating.

According to the claim, which also names St. Mary's Hospital, a doctor and a nurse, the latest incident took place on Jan. 6, 2013, when RCMP brought the teen to emergency for the second time in three months.

"The RCMP officer observed [she] had cuts on her wrists, was in an agitated state, possessed a razor blade, thought of self-harm or suicide and referred to her 'emotional pain'," the claim states.

"[She] had carved the words 'MONSTER F*** Up' on her wrist and had approximately 50 other fresh cuts on her arms and another approximately 50 partly-healed cuts on her arms that she had inflicted on herself."

The woman claims she told the doctor and nurse her daughter had threatened to commit suicide and had assaulted her twice before. She said they decided the girl needed in-patient care, but a transfer could not be completed that night.

"The plaintiff voiced her concern about returning [the girl] to her home after her threats of suicide and her assaults on the plaintiff and in light of [the girl's] agitated state," the claim says.

'Emerged with a baseball bat'

Despite her concerns, the woman claims, staff released her daughter with sedatives. She says the teenager had never tried the drugs before, and no one advised her to remain at hospital to observe the effect of the sedatives.

When they got home, the woman said, the girl "became enraged and threatened to commit suicide."

"[She] went to her room and emerged with a baseball bat which she used to beat the plaintiff, delivering approximately five blows to the plaintiff, rendering her unable to call the police," reads the claim.

The woman claims she ultimately escaped after fending off blows with a vacuum cleaner. Police later apprehended the girl and transferred her to Lion's Gate Hospital.

Girl previously taken to ER by police

In the woman's notice of civil claim, she argues St. Mary's Hospital and staff had a duty of care based on their knowledge of her daughter's mental health condition and her tendency to commit violent acts.

The woman refers to an incident in November 2012, when RCMP officers brought the teenager into the emergency room after she ran away for five days.

In that incident, she said, the girl allegedly left the facility and was apprehended again.

The woman says she and a social worker then asked hospital staff to arrange an interview with a psychiatrist, but the teenager was released two hours later.

Vancouver Coastal Health declined comment on the lawsuit. 

The woman's suit follows other B.C. Supreme Court claims, in which victims of violence have sued hospital for injuries they suffered in the hours after the release of attackers with mental health problems.


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