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Syracuse Students Falsely Imprisoned at St. Joseph’s Hospital

Daily Orange: Marc Held, Partner, Held & Hines, LLP, quoted re: Syracuse Students Falsely Imprisoned at St. Joseph’s Hospital

Another former student files lawsuit against SU, St. Joseph’s Hospital

By Annie Palmer
DEVELOPMENT EDITOR

A former Syracuse University student who claims he was involuntarily confined to the St. Joseph’s Hospital psychiatric ward is now suing the university and the hospital, making him the second student to come forward with such allegations.

Andrew Smith, a Seattle resident, claims he was held against his will in St. Joseph’s psychiatric ward for six days in March 2013. He is now suing the hospital, SU and a university employee, arguing he’s suffered mental and physical damage due to improper medical treatment, administering unnecessary and harmful medication and failure to obtain informed consent, among other reasons, according to a lawsuit filed recently in New York County Supreme Court.

A similar case was filed by a former SU student against the hospital and the university last spring. Kaitlyn Taylor, a Union County, New Jersey resident, sued both parties after she visited Health Services and was then confined to St. Joseph’s mental ward for six days, according to her lawsuit.

SU denied all wrongdoing in regards to Taylor’s allegations, saying it didn’t “act inappropriately in any way.”

Kevin Quinn, SU’s senior vice president for public affairs, was not immediately available to comment for this story.

Paul Hanrahan, St. Joseph’s attorney, was also not immediately available for comment.

Smith went to Health Services on March 28, 2013 when he began suffering from flu-like symptoms. While there, he met with several Health Services employees, including Clark Pinson, then a staff therapist at SU, according to the lawsuit.

SU’s directory shows that Pinson is no longer an employee of the university. Pinson now works in private practice out of an office based in Syracuse’s Tipperary Hill neighborhood — about 15 minutes away from SU — according to the practice’s website.

Pinson and other Health Services employees “pressured and directed” Smith to go to the hospital, the lawsuit states. On March 28, 2013, Pinson dropped Smith off at St. Joseph’s emergency room, where, after meeting with hospital employees, he was transferred to St. Joseph’s Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program, according to the lawsuit.

“Syracuse students went to the school infirmary due to a physical illness and found themselves locked up against their will in the mental ward of St. Joseph’s Hospital,” said Marc Held, Smith’s attorney.

Smith was in the mental ward from March 28 to April 3 — a total of seven days, the lawsuit states. While there, his personal possessions were confiscated, he had limited outside communication, was forced to take “inappropriate” medications and received limited examination by the hospital, according to the lawsuit.

In all, the experience caused Smith mental and emotional anguish and physical pain and suffering, the lawsuit states.

Published on October 12, 2015 at 11:14 pm

Contact Annie: apalme05@syr.edu

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