Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Grieving Belleville Widow's Lawsuit Claims She Couldn't Leave Barnes-Jewish Hospital without Mental Exam

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Grieving Belleville Widow's Lawsuit Claims She Couldn't Leave Barnes-Jewish Hospital without Mental Exam

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS - Linda Derouin says one of her husband's final requests was that she stay by his side.

She and Michael Derouin had been married nearly 38 years. After three straight weeks of lung cancer treatments at Barnes-Jewish Hospital last June, they called a funeral home to discuss arrangements.

"Mike said, 'Linda don't leave me,'" she said. "All of a sudden his hand just went limp."

He was dead at 66.

But it would be hours before the hospital let her leave, she says, forcing her first to undergo a psychiatric evaluation over her grief.

The widow from Belleville is now suing Barnes-Jewish Hospital for assault, battery, negligence and inflicting emotional distress.

Barnes' lawyer Terrence O'Toole declined to comment, referring questions to a BJC Healthcare spokeswoman, who would not discuss the hospital's policies but provided a statement:

"Our highest priority is the health, privacy and safety of our patients and their family members," said Kim Kitson, the company's director of communications. "While we do not comment publicly on pending litigation, we intend to share the facts and respond through the appropriate legal process."

The Derouins were married in 1980, said Linda Derouin, 58.

"He was the love of my life," she said.

Michael Derouin worked as a foreman for a construction company that helped build the MetroLink station at Frank Scott Parkway decades ago, his wife said.

Doctors found a mass in his lung in 2017, diagnosing him with cancer that had spread to his pancreas, intestines and bladder. After months of drug treatment and chemotherapy, he died at Barnes about 3:30 p.m. June 7.

A nurse instructed Linda Derouin to wait in a conference room and told her she couldn't leave the hospital until she completed a psychiatric evaluation to assess her risk of suicide, Derouin says.

"I was just waiting for them to pick up my husband's body," she said. …

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