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Article posted: 6/27/2013 4:58 PM

Naperville hospital settles teen suicide case for $1.65 million

By Josh Stockinger

A psychiatric hospital in Naperville has agreed to pay $1.65 million to the family of a 17-year-old boy who committed suicide there in March 2012.

The settlement involving Linden Oaks at Edward Hospital was formally approved this week in Cook County court by Judge Gregory O'Brien.

According to court records, the teen took steps to commit suicide while being treated at the hospital on March 9, 2012, and was pronounced dead the following day. With the settlement, Linden Oaks acknowledged failing to properly monitor and assess him.

Attorney Jerry Latherow, who represented the teenager's family, said Thursday the hospital was "extremely forthcoming" and volunteered to change its procedures as a result of the boy's death.

"Rather than an impersonal form letter of condolence, the hospital extended a true expression of sorrow and regret for any negligence," he said.

With medical negligence claims, Latherow said, it's more common for a hospital "to retreat into a defensive posture."

"In this case, Linden Oaks exhibited a refreshing willingness to take responsibility and avoid litigation for them and the suffering family," he said.

Latherow's office said the agreement was reached without a lawsuit, although one was filed as a formality in order for the settlement to be approved.

In a statement, Linden Oaks said the death was the only instance of a patient suicide in its 20-plus year history.

"The entire Linden Oaks family was deeply saddened by the suicide of one of our patients last year," the statement said. "Patient care and safety are our number one concern. We strive to continually improve the quality of care we provide our patients."

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