Addict overdosed after abrupt discharge with no referrals...

by Sheri
(Brookville, PA)

My daughter had a brush with the law and was arrested. The judge wanted to send her to a 2 week state funded drug rehab. I was concerned because my daughter had such a troubled life. I did a lot of searching and found a Faith based dual treatment center and called them. I spoke with the President of the company and he agreed my daughter needed more than a drug rehab that she was troubled and he assured me he could help.

He offered a $15,000 scholarship and said I could make payments for the rest, as the total cost was $26,000/month. She had gone through most of the program with some discipline issues but as a whole pretty well. Exactly 10 days prior to her completion I got a phone call that I had to come and get her right away. I pleaded with them (and so did she) not to discharge her.

They said that if I didn't come and get her they would drop her at a bus station. They said she snuck in a cell phone but never found it. I got her and 14 days later she died of a drug overdose. Those last 10 days of treatment were to teach her how to deal with the temptations and how to find a new social group, etc. That's the part she missed and I believe it's the part that could have avoided her death.

Did they have the right to discharge her without at least referring her somewhere else, or even informing the law because the judge ordered it? What are their responsibilities when discharging a potentially dangerous addict? Thank you for any information you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Addict overdosed after abrupt discharge with no referrals...":

Sheri (Brookville, PA):

Your daughter's death is very unfortunate. To determine the legal duties and obligations of the private rehabilitation center you must refer to the documents you and your daughter signed at or near the time of your daughter's admission.

If the documents indicate the rehab center reserved the right to discharge a patient, or "resident", immediately for infractions, and your daughter's discharge fell within one or more of those infractions, you may not have the basis for a legal claim.

Alternatively, even if the documents don't set out the basis for discharge, you will be hard-pressed to prove the discharge from the rehabilitation center was the direct and proximate cause of your daughter's death.

You would be best served by seeking the advice of several attorneys with substantial experience in wrongful death cases. Bring along with you the documents you and your daughter signed at the time of your daughter's admission. After reviewing the documents the attorneys will be able to give you a clear idea whether your wrongful death case has merit.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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