A woman filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the federal government earlier this year, alleging that an incorrect diagnosis and incorrect dosages of medication caused her sister’s 2010 suicide. The plaintiff in Grese v. United States claims that doctors with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) continued her sister on a medication known to have serious psychiatric side effects even after she had attempted suicide. The suit alleges multiple breaches of applicable standards of care for doctors and other medical professionals, and demands $5 million in damages.
The decedent, Kelli Grese, served in the U.S. Navy and was discharged in 1997, according to the Hampton Roads Daily Press. She began receiving treatment from the VA for psychiatric issues sometime afterwards, including medication and therapy, for post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, and depression. Doctors diagnosed her with attention deficit disorder in 2008, according to the plaintiff’s complaint, and prescribed stimulant medications. Grese checked into a private psychiatric hospital in March 2009 where she received a diagnosis of severe depression. Doctors at the private hospital classified her at the time as a suicide risk, and noted that she suffered from paranoia and delusional thinking. After her discharge from the psychiatric hospital, the complaint alleges that the VA doctors did not modify her treatment plan despite changes in her condition.