July 2, 2008

Mother Sues McLean in Daughter’s Suicide

By Christine McConville, Boston Herald

Jul. 2--The mother of a young woman who committed suicide on the MBTA tracks is suing McLean Hospital.

Nancy Ramseyer of Madison, Conn., alleges in her nine-count wrongful death complaint that physicians and other caregivers at the world-renowned Belmont facility did not let family members know that Lauren Ramseyer's mental condition was deteriorating.

If McLean had given the mother "timely, accurate information" about her 21-year-old daughter's behavior and mental status, then she "would have acted herself to protect her daughter and Lauren's death would not have occurred," the complaint states.

McLean Hospital Corp. lawyer William J. Dailey Jr. said yesterday the hospital and the five doctors named in the suit will fight the case because they disagree with the allegations.

"It is very sad, but the doctors will see it through trial," Dailey said.

Lauren Ramseyer died on July 1, 2005, after being struck by a commuter train near the Alewife MBTA station in Cambridge at about 6 a.m.

At the time she had been living at McLean Hospital. She had been admitted on April 25, 2002, with a history of "serious psychiatric illness, substance abuse, and self-destructive and suicidal behavior," the complaint states.

Nancy Ramseyer placed her daughter at McLean after hospital representatives promised to provide "around-the-clock superior care," the complaint states.

Lauren was a "highly desirable patient for McLean because Mrs. Ramseyer was willing and financially able to pay large sums of her own funds for Lauren's very expensive care," the complaint states.

The complaint also alleges that the hospital charged Nancy Ramseyer for "close monitoring" of her daughter, but "failed to provide that level of care or scrutiny."

On the morning of her death, hospital staff discovered that Lauren Ramseyer was not in her room when they went to wake her up at 8 a.m., the complaint states.

Nancy Ramseyer is seeking unspecified damages.

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