Parents sue HCA hospital after their son was killed by police

The family of a 34-year-old mental health patient who was killed by police after being released from the hospital is suing Richmond, Va.-based Chippenham Hospital and the city of Richmond for $35 million, ABC affiliate WRIC reported Nov. 23. 

The hospital is part of Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare. The complaint was filed by Charles Byers' parents on Nov. 22. They allege their son "found himself a falsely criminalized victim of conscious-shocking callousness, ineptitude, and outright intentional wrongdoing perpetrated by HCA-Chippenham and the [Richmond Police Department]."

Mr. Byers, who had been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, was taken to Chippenham Hospital by his mother July 5 after his mental health had worsened. According to the lawsuit, he was supposed to be left with a sitter but was left unattended for hours. He was placed on an emergency custody order after being found wandering the hallways. Mr. Byers was placed on a temporary detention order July 6. That same day, staff attempted to move him to another floor, but his condition made him fearful of using elevators.

According to the complaint, hospital staff and a police officer resorted to force to place Mr. Byers in handcuffs. The lawsuit alleges that staff members fabricated an assault charge against him, falsely claiming he kicked a nurse, in order for him to be taken into custody. Mr. Byers was discharged to be taken into police custody, which is illegal when under a TDO, according to the complaint.

On July 8, Mr. Byers was released from police custody and was found trying to break into a house. He allegedly wielded a hatchet and ignored commands from police to release the weapon. Mr. Byers was shot six times and pronounced dead at the scene.

"Due to patient privacy rights, Chippenham Hospital does not comment on a patient's medical care and treatment," a hospital spokesperson told Becker's. "We are, however, able to confirm now publicly available information. Specifically, Mr. Byers was at our facility under a Temporary Detention Order (a civil commitment) issued by the Richmond Magistrate Office. While at our facility, Mr. Byers was arrested by the Richmond Police Department for an assault (a criminal proceeding) that occurred in the presence of Richmond Police officer(s). While Chippenham Hospital is not aware of the exact events that transpired after Mr. Byers left our facility, information available on the Virginia Court Information System indicates that, after an arrest for assault, Mr. Byers appeared before the Richmond Magistrate Office and was released on his own recognizance."

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars

Top 40 articles from the past 6 months