Teen psychiatric patient tries suicide after release

A 16-year-old girl was in a St. John's hospital Thursday night in serious condition after trying to take her own life after she was released from a psychiatric facility despite opposition from her parents.

Parents had urged hospital officials not to discharge girl, says family lawyer

A 16-year-old girl was in a St. John's hospital Thursday night in serious condition after trying to take her own life after being released from a psychiatric facility despite opposition from her parents who feared she would harm herself.

CBC News first reported on the teen last year when she was taken in handcuffs by police from the Janeway Children's Health and Rehabilitation Centre to the Waterford Hospital —  an institution specializing in adult psychiatric care.

Since then, she has attempted suicide countless times, according to Bob Buckingham, the family's lawyer.

He said the hospital discharged the teen into the care of her family Wednesday even though family members had told hospital officials they were worried she was going to harm herself.

"The psychiatrists and the Waterford administration have taken the Pontius Pilate approach to this and washed their hands of it and have downloaded the care of this poor girl onto her family," he said.

Buckingham said the teen's mother has been told by medical staff to quit her job and stay home with her daughter.

He said not enough was done to find the right kind of help for the girl, whose name is not being released to protect her identity.

"You either find an institution where the child can be treated and you send the child there," he said. "Or you bring the people in. It's as simple as that."

In a statement, Eastern Health — the authority that oversees the Waterford — declined to comment specifically on the teen's case saying it could negatively affect her prognosis.

They said in such cases a discharge plan is developed by a team of medical professionals, in consultation with the parents.

Buckingham denied that any such planning was put in place for the teen.