Could Rosenbaum Family File Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
According to at least some reports, Joseph Rosenbaum, the man who was shot and killed by Kyle Rittenhouse, was discharged from a psychiatric hospital earlier that day. While the contentious murder trial focused on Rittenhouse’s and Rosenbaum’s first interaction, and the defense successfully gained an acquittal on that basis, that doesn’t mean that the Rosenbaum family is happy that their loved one was released from the hospital into riot conditions where he provoked an armed teen and was killed.
We know that Rosenbaum was the first in the chain of events that led to three men being shot. Rosenbaum saw Rittenhouse with a gun and then provoked him by calling him a colloquial racial slur (they were both white) and directed him to shoot Rosenbaum. It could be argued, thus, that Rosenbaum was still suicidal when he left the hospital. Here is why that matters. Once Rosenbaum attempted to take Rittenhouse’s gun away, Rittenhouse had legal cause to fire his weapon. Others heard gunfire and assumed that an active shooter situation was happening. They attempted to quell Rittenhouse, but were unsuccessful. Anthony Huber was killed trying to neutralize Rittenhouse with his skateboard, and Gabe Grosskreuz was shot in the bicep when he pointed a handgun at Rittenhouse.
Theoretically, Huber would not be dead and Grosskreuz would not have lost the majority of his bicep if Rittenhouse hadn’t been provoked by a suicidal Rosenbaum. That means that the liability for the incident shifts to Rosenbaum and the hospital’s decision to release him early.
Can lawsuits be filed based on the early release of a psychiatric patient?
Yes, but they can be quite difficult to win. The issue is that the release of a patient who is being held on a psychiatric hold is a medical decision. Because it is a medical decision, it falls under the purview of medical malpractice. Because it falls under the purview of medical malpractice, it’s based on the industry’s prevailing standard of care.
When a patient is released prematurely, it can result in injury or death. Suicidal or psychotic patients who are released can injure both themselves and others. Since the hospital made the call to release the patient, they are responsible for ensuring that the process by which they signed off on the release was conducted according to the prevailing standard of medical care.
What does that mean? Well, let’s say very simply that a hospital releases a psychotic patient who then goes on to provoke an attack, cause his own death, and more. Obviously, the guy is not right in the head because he has no inkling of self-preservation. But that alone does not prove that the hospital is liable. The hospital would still have a valid defense. They could claim that, although they were wrong, they followed the standard of care for the medical industry. Being wrong as a doctor isn’t necessarily actionable. The doctor must not only be wrong, but have somehow failed to employ the industry’s best practices when discharging the patient. In other words, Rosenbaum’s own conduct is not necessarily enough evidence to prove medical malpractice.
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If you’ve been injured due to the conduct of a negligent doctor or hospital, call the Houston personal injury attorneys at Livingston & Flowers today to schedule a free consultation and discuss the issues related to a medical malpractice lawsuit.