Eindhoven psych institute charged with patient's death

Mental health institution GGZ Eindhoven is being prosecuted for the death of a 29-year-old patient in 2013. The institution is being charged with negligence. This is the first time in the Netherlands that a health institution has to account for the death of a patient in court, Omroep Brabant reports.

The woman died in the institution's emergency psychiatry department. She admitted herself after being diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2013. Due to staff shortages, her care was left to an inexperienced doctor who had only been in training for three weeks, according to the broadcaster. The doctor was not aware of what medication the woman was taking. The patient was given antipsychotic drug clozapine and died of cardiac arrest. She was hypersensitive to the drug. 

According to Boudewijn van Eijck, the lawyer representing GGZ Eindhoven, it is not certain that the administration of the antipsychotic was the cause of the woman's death. Doctors and nurses are not infallible, the lawyer said to the broadcaster. There was no question of malicious intent. The lawyer called the patient's death a "tragic and fateful event that deeply affected the lives of many people". 

The chief practitioner and doctor in training are not being individually prosecuted. The GGZ as institution is the suspect in this lawsuit. The trial will start at the end of March.  

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