New Mexico behavioral health hospital to pay $215K in abuse settlement

The New Mexico Department of Health will pay $215,000 to settle allegations that a patient was abused and neglected at the state-owned Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas, N.M., Albuquerque Journal reported May 22. 

The lawsuit is one of 145 settlements that the state has reported so far in 2023 — totaling $3.7 million in payouts.

Eddie Sanchez was a patient at the institute receiving care for dementia. He allegedly ended up in a coma due to dehydration and malnourishment after mistreatment at the facility. 

His wife, who filed the lawsuit in 2021, also said she found evidence of abuse during a visit, including a black eye and dislocated thumb, according to court documents obtained by the publication. 

The Institute and the state deny the allegations in this case and agreed to the settlement to avoid further litigation costs, according to the publication. 

The facility is the only state owned and operated behavioral health hospital in New Mexico. 

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