Hospital Releases Man; He Kills, Then He Sues

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A Maryland man who killed his mother and his family’s teen-age boarder in a psychotic episode is suing the hospital that released him a day before the killings, reports the Baltimore Sun. Benjamin Hawkes, 28, who is confined in Jessup, the state’s maximum-security psychiatric hospital, alleges that Howard County General Hospital made a series of mistakes Feb. 10, 2001, when he sought treatment in the emergency room. As a result, he was “willfully, recklessly and wantonly released … at a time when he was in a psychotic state and was foreseeably an obvious extreme danger to himself and to others,” according to the lawsuit, which calls the deaths of Mary Jane Hawkes, 59, and Teena Wu, 18, a “foreseeable consequence.”

“It’s his position, I think rightfully so, if he had been attended to according to standard psychiatric care, he would have been kept there and this wouldn’t have happened,” said Hawkes’ attorney, John E. Harris Sr. The lawsuit seeks $10 million in damages.

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