Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas Court of Appeals: Wrongful Death Lawsuit against Larned State Hospital Can Proceed

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas Court of Appeals: Wrongful Death Lawsuit against Larned State Hospital Can Proceed

Article excerpt

A wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuit against Larned State Hospital will move forward after the Kansas Court of Appeals overturned a lower court's ruling last week.

Dustan Wilson, 28, committed suicide on May 14, 2011, nine days after he was released from Larned and 13 days after he was admitted for suicidal thoughts and actions.

Two years later, Wilson's mother, Polly, filed a lawsuit against Larned, the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services, the superintendent of Larned and two physicians at the hospital. The lawsuit was filed at 11:56 p.m., four minutes before the statute of limitations was set to expire.

Dustan Wilson had been to Larned on multiple occasions before his 2011 stint. When he was admitted, a nurse noted his longstanding depression, alcoholism and propensity for violence. He had been transferred from Hays Medical Center after recovering from a drug overdose, according to an attorney for Polly Wilson.

"In my opinion, it would have been clear to anyone seeing this patient that he was surely a suicide risk," said the attorney, Caleb Boone, of Hays. "He was, on this particular hospitalization, kept only a few days and discharged. In my opinion, that was negligence and I believe that is what caused his death."

Wilson was discharged on May 5, 2011, and spent a brief period of time in the Ellis County Jail. On May 14, he committed suicide by hanging at his home, leaving behind a wife and two daughters.

An obituary recalled Wilson's love for his children, skateboarding and music. A Facebook page for Polly Wilson, who couldn't be reached for comment, features warm remembrances of her son.

An attorney representing Larned and KDADS didn't respond to a request for comment. Angela de Rocha, a spokeswoman for the agency, said KDADS can't comment on a pending case but added that wrongful death lawsuits against Larned are rare. …

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