CHARLESTON -- A Putnam County woman is suing Thomas Memorial Hospital after she claims the hospital is responsible for her family member's death.

On Aug. 7, 2008, David Ray Strickland was transported to the hospital via ambulance after he reportedly took an unknown amount of prescription medications with alcohol in a possible suicide attempt, according to a complaint filed Aug. 13 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Vanessa Strickland claims that despite the fact that his medical condition was identified as a behavioral emergency, David Ray Strickland was released from restraints on Aug. 9, 2008, but continued to "voice dangerous ideation to his family," who reported the information to the staff at the hospital.

During his hospitalization, David Ray Strickland's mental state continued to deteriorate and he became more agitated and was noted to be incoherent, according to the suit.

Vanessa Strickland claims on the afternoon of Aug. 9, 2008, David Ray Strickland disconnected himself from his medical apparatus, got out of his bed, proceeded out of his room and down a hospital staircase, where he died.

As a result of the defendant's negligence, carelessness, recklessness, incompetent procedures, willful lack of care and deviations from the appropriate standard of care, David Ray Strickland was permitted to leave a controlled medical setting, where he immediately suffered a fatal medical complication and died, according to the suit.

Vanessa Strickland is seeking compensatory damages. She is being represented by Brent K. Kesner, Kevin C. Harris and Eric J. Holmes.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge James C. Stucky.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 10-C-1461

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