Psych Crime Reporter

January 17, 2013

Death of teenager in psych hospital blamed on understaffing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 1:59 pm

(Note: The hospital in this new story, Westwood Lodge, is operated by Universal Health Services. )

Profits over patients was the message for the jury from lawyers for Theresa Payne, whose 14-year-old daughter died from complications from an untreated brain tumor while she was a patient at the Westwood Lodge psychiatric hospital.

The Essex Superior Court civil trial began today with dueling opening statements, where Payne’s attorney argued that the hospital was understaffed and ignored days of complaints from Monique Payne about headaches and vomiting.

A lawyer for Westwood Lodge argued staffing was adequate, and pointed out that Monique Payne had made similar complaints but didn’t need treatment. In reality, her tumor was causing her brain to fill with fluid.

“The pressure in the head got worse and worse and worse for four hours and five minutes without a call to her doctor. It compressed, herniated, her brain stem causing her death. By the time she gets to Boston, she’s essentially dead,” Payne’s attorney, Ben Novotny, told the jury.

Westwood Lodge lawyer Thomas Farchione told jurors in his opening statement that the nurses who are defendants in the case did everything they should have to meet the standard of care.

“Over thirty times the health care providers were looking at her, talking to her, assessing her. That many people can’t be wrong,” he said.

Theresa Payne was the first to take the stand, telling jurors about her teen daughter.

“She wanted to sing and dance. She wanted to be more of a singer. She wanted to meet Michael Jackson,” she said. “That’s what she wanted to do.”

Source: “Psych. hospital death blamed on understaffing,” Fox25, January 16, 2013.



  1. UHS has a history of understaffing facilities to maximize profits. The CEO Allan Miller pays himself 12.5 million a year. Blood money from those in need and in crisis. The staff of UHS facilities are often good people overwhelmed by impossible tasks. Too few staff assigned to too many very sick patients. Clinicians are forced to do clerical work instead of patient care. Allan Miller is a criminal.

    Comment by Jon Rich — January 20, 2013 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

  2. We filed complaints against the same facility, although for less serious reasons. I personally spoke to the Human Rights officer who brushed me off and told me to put it in writing to the CEO. That was ignored, also. My husband was denied visiting me and told he must be “one of those restraining order cases” simply because he couldn’t remember the exact name of my unit. When he objected, he was threatened with security escorting him out.
    Has anyone seen where patients get to have fresh air outside? The area is caged to “protect” the residents in the area. We feel like animals in a zoo. No longer can we walk with staff around the grounds because we’re considered a security threat, yet the front portion of the property is used for youth sports. Let’s talk about HIPPA laws.
    It’s hard enough to have to be hospitalized, but to be treated like animals and not given the privilege to walk the grounds with staff, being humiliated when a visitor comes, and threatened with security when you object…that’s too much. Someone PLEASE look at the grounds and the “cages”.

    Comment by susan watts — October 16, 2014 @ 12:11 am | Reply

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