One Jones, a mental incompetent, was erroneously released as "recovered" from a state hospital for the criminal insane, after having been transferred there because of his dangerous behavior at a state penal institution. Jones' frequent assaultive behavior at the hospital was not reported in his case history upon which the determination of his recovery was partially based, nor was any inquiry made into the motivation for such conduct. Crowded conditions and an inadequate psychiatric staff were responsible for the improper diagnosis of the patient's condition and his ultimate discharge. Four days after his release he killed four persons. The administratrix of the estate of one of the decedents sued for wrongful death, asserting negligence in the release of Jones. Held, judgment for the plaintiff. Having knowledge of the incompetent's dangerous tendencies, the state had the duty to follow ordinary psychiatric procedure in determining the propriety of the patient's release. By reason of its failure in this respect the state was negligent and thus liable for the death caused by the released inmate. St. George v. State, 118 N. Y. S. (2d) 596 (1953).
Edgar A. Strause S.Ed.,
NEGLIGENCE-DUTY OF CARE-LIABILITY OF STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL FOR ACTS OF A DANGEROUS PATIENT AFTER IMPROPER DISCHARGE,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol51/iss7/17