Los Angeles County officials agreed this week to the family of a 26-year-old college graduate who committed suicide in a public mental hospital as the staff attended to another patient.
UCLA graduate Jorge Alarcon, 26, was admitted to a Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center mental hospital in Rosemead last year after his parents worried that he had become psychotic. About a month later, he hanged himself with a T-shirt in his hospital bathroom on June 2, 2008. It was his third suicide attempt while at the hospital, and he had been placed on suicide watch two days before he killed himself, according to his family.
Alarcon's parents filed a lawsuit alleging that the hospital staff failed to adequately monitor their son, creating the opportunity for him to commit suicide.
The county said it completed "appropriate personnel corrective actions" in the wake of Alarcon's death. One policy change that was enacted states that staffers overseeing a suicidal patient "may not leave the patient unless relieved by another staff member," according to a county document.