Parents sue substance abuse center over son's death

By Steve Gonzalez | Aug 29, 2005

Gateway Foundation

A private, not-for-profit substance abuse center in Caseyville was named in a wrongful death suit by the parents of a Franklin County teen who hung himself in the shower while under the care of the treatment center in June 2004.

Cheryl Lynn Clifton Boyd and Loren Woodrow Boyd claim Gateway Foundation had a duty to protect their son John, who attempted suicide on June 17, 2004.

According to the complaint, John Clifton Boyd died of injuries related to his suicide attempt nine days later at St. Louis University Medical Center.

The Boyds claim Gateway failed to provide adequate supervision by not having qualified personnel available to monitor the hallway outside their son's room, failed to have personnel immediately available to perform CPR and failed to have a key readily available to unlock his door in case of an emergency.

According to the Boyds, Gateway also failed to monitor John's care despite his suicidal tendencies, and the dangers he posed to himself due to his continued substance abuse. The center also failed to monitor John's care despite increases in his depression and anxiety levels, and failed to have John meet with a psychiatrist per the mental health tracking sheet maintained at Gateway, the suit claims.

"The wrongful death of John Clifton Boyd, his parents and siblings, will be deprived of the society of John Clifton Boyd forever," the complaint states.

They are seeking at least $50,000 in wrongful death damages and an additional $50,000 claiming that prior to his death, John suffered physical pain and mental suffering.

Carbondale attorney Courtney Hughes will represent the Boyds.

05 L 494 (20th Circuit)

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