Patient Death at California Mental Facility Results in Suit

April 28, 2015

A California mental health facility is being sued by the family of Kevin Turner, who was found suffocated in his bed last year.

The San Luis Obispo Tribune reported the lawsuit against Atascadero State Hospital says Turner was put at risk when the facility placed him and kept him with a violent roommate.

Police reports say a psychiatrist at the hospital walked into the patients’ room and found 35-year-old Adam Cary suffocating the 56-year-old by pushing his face into a pillow.

Cary pleaded not guilty, but was deemed incompetent to stand trial. He has past convictions for attempted rape and assault.

LawsuitTurner had been at the facility for more than 10 years, with convictions for involuntary manslaughter, burglary and petty theft.

Patients complained to staff that Turner’s roommate was violent, giving them ample warning to prevent an accident, according to the lawsuit filed on behalf of Kevin Turner’s mom, Linda Turner of Tacoma, Washington, and sister, Mary Lowry of Las Vegas.

Cary will be back in court May 6 to determine if he understands the charges against him and is able to assist in his own defense.

The Department of State Hospitals is named in the lawsuit as well, and did not respond to emailed questions. The amount of the lawsuit was not specified.

The case prompted legislation that changed state law to say state hospitals can place violent patients into enhanced treatment programs. A similar program was available at ASH at the time of the death, but Cary was not placed in it.

Topics Lawsuits California

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