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Family gets $12 million in suicide at Brookwood

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — A jury found Brookwood Medical Center at fault in the suicide of a psychiatric patient who jumped to his death from a hospital parking deck. It awarded the man's family $12 million.

The jury decided Thursday that the hospital, owned by Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp., was responsible for the death of Vaughn Hollon, 53, who was admitted in October 2003 as a suicide risk. He died two days later.

Hospital spokeswoman Debbie Hollenstein said Brookwood did nothing wrong and will appeal.

Accordig to testimony, Hollon scaled a fence in an outdoor area of a psychiatric ward, broke both legs after an initial fall to a parking deck, then died from a second jump 80 feet to the ground after escaping the grip of a nurse who tried to restrain him.

"He did not receive the proper care," Hollon's mother, Mary Ellen Hollon, said. "If a dime had not been awarded, the important thing is that Brookwood corrects its mistakes so not another person has to die from their negligence."

According to the Alabama Jury Verdict Report, the $12 million in punitive damages is the largest civil judgment in Alabama so far this year.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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