FARGO – A Fargo widow is suing the mental health hospital here where her husband’s body was discovered after he hanged himself hours after being admitted in April, alleging the hospital was negligent in failing to monitor him.
Jennifer Waagen filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Cass County District Court against Prairie St. John’s Psychiatric Hospital.
Scott Waagen used a bed sheet fastened over the top of the bathroom door to try to hang himself. He was found by a psychiatric technician April 26 and died a week later at Sanford Medical Center.
He left behind his wife and three young daughters, all under 8 years old.
Jennifer Waagen’s lawsuit states her husband was admitted to Prairie St. John’s about 13 hours earlier for continuous surveillance after being diagnosed with a brief psychotic disorder.
The lawsuit accuses Prairie St. John’s of being negligent in failing to document and complete accurate assessments of Scott Waagen, and for failing to watch him and prevent his death by hanging.
Lawyers for Prairie St. John’s filed a response to the lawsuit stating no one at the facility was negligent in caring for Waagen, and that his suicide attempt was not reasonably foreseeable.
Instead, as a suicide victim, Waagen’s death was his own fault, the answer states.
Both sides have explored alternative dispute resolution, according to court documents filed with the case.
Jennifer Waagen is asking for at least $50,000 in economic and non-economic damages.