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Michael London
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NEW HAVEN, April 25, 2016 - A New Haven Superior Court jury today awarded $12,032,500 to the estate of a suicide victim who was not properly treated either at Yale-New Haven Hospital or by a psychiatric nurse at Harbor Health.

After deliberating for three hours, the jury awarded the estate of Alan E. Jarecki, formerly of Madison, saying Yale-New Haven Hospital was 65% responsible for the man's death and the nurse at Harbor Health, Catherine Florio, was 35% responsible.

The verdict followed a three week trial before Judge Salvatore Agati.

According to the lawsuit, Jarecki , a house painter, was admitted to the hospital in July 2009 because he was considering suicide. The hospital began to taper him off from a medication that he had been taking for about 10 years - a medication that, while addicting, had been helping Jarecki with his anxiety.

After 10 days in the hospital, the lawsuit says, Jarecki was discharged in the care of Catherine Florio, a psychiatric APRN at Harbor Health. She saw him one time, telling him to come back in three months. Nine days later, when completely off of his medication, he called his mother, drove to a Bauer Park in Madison and killed himself.

"The standard for good, responsible mental health care must be the same for everyone, rich or poor. Al Jarecki was at the lowest point in his life in 2009 - recently diagnosed with a chronic illness, unemployed, and coming off a ten year dependence on medication," said Att. Katie Mesner-Hage, who is representing the Jarecki estate along with Atty. Joshua Koskoff.

The lawsuit says that Florio, among other allegations, "failed to adequately and properly care for, treat, diagnose, monitor and/or supervise (Jarecki) for anxiety, depression, benzodiazepine taper and/or suicidality . . . failed to take a thorough history . . . failed to read and/or incorporate the information from the July 21, 2009 Harbor Health records . . . (and) failed to adequately and properly assess (Jarecki) for physiological signs and symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal."

As well, Florio also "failed to facilitate getting Alan E. Jarecki into a Harbor Health intensive outpatient program," the lawsuit says. She did not properly monitor the benzodiazepine withdrawal, the suit says.

"Al. Jarecki had the courage to ask for the help he needed," Att. Koskoff added. "He did his part, but the medical professionals responsible for his care didn't do theres. This verdict recognizes that good mental health care is not a privilege; it's a right."

Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder has offices in Bridgeport, Danbury, New Haven and Stamford. The nationally known law firm has achieved record verdicts for people who suffer serious personal injuries or economic harm from medical malpractice, violation of their civil or constitutional rights, dangerous products, negligence, drunk drivers, corporate or governmental abuse and commercial misconduct. www.koskoff.com.

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