This case involves the suicide of a female at an inpatient drug treatment center in Arizona, where she had been sent to recover from an opioid addiction. She was housed in a private room that had an exposed water pipe. According to other patients who were interviewed after her suicide, she spent most of her time alone in her room, despite the facility’s Service Agreement that stipulated that patients vacate their rooms several hours per day for housekeeping. The patient hung herself with her own belt, which she was allowed to keep upon admission, from the exposed pipe.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Do you have the experience and expertise to review this case and determine what mistakes, if any, were made in the care and treatment of the patient?
- 2. Are you familiar with the proper steps in caring for and monitoring patients with similar symptoms?
- 3. Have you every lectured or been published on the topic of suicidal depression complicated by opioid addiction?
Expert Witness Response E-009435
I possess the experience and expertise to review all the available data and offer a professional opinion regarding the care and treatment afforded this patient. For 25+ years I have developed, critiqued and executed policies and procedures related to treating such patients, ensuring a healthy and productive milieu for personal recovery. As the director of two narcotic treatment program locations, I spend a significant amount of time dealing with the realities of opiate dependence. I have actively engaged with many who verbalize or are clinically deemed to have inclinations towards of self-harm, and have successfully avoided patient suicides under my immediate care.