Montana hospital accused of 'systematic neglect' after 2 patient deaths

Warm Springs-based Montana State Hospital is being sued over alleged neglect that contributed to the deaths of two patients, Montana Free Press reported Nov. 1.

The lawsuit, filed Oct. 31, is brought by the families of Lucio DiMauro and David Patzoldt, and Lesley Jungers, a recent patient represented by her guardians. It alleges that the hospital violated patients' constitutional rights and that some patients with mental health issues were "systematically abused and neglected."

Mr. DiMauro was admitted in September 2020 and died August 2021 after a dozen documented falls, the lawsuit said. Mr. Patzoldt reportedly deteriorated over the three months he lived in the facility before dying in January 2022.

A state health department spokesperson declined the news outlet's request for comment.

The state facility lost its federal accreditation in April 2022 following patient deaths, falls and other safety concerns. The governor hired a consulting firm to oversee hospital operations; a June report from the firm said the hospital had 37% staff vacancy, a 70-person waitlist and a projected annual budget deficiency of roughly $44 million.

As of Nov. 1, the state has not yet filed a legal response, according to the report.

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