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Massachusetts Wrongful Death Lawsuit Blames McLean Hospital After Mentally Ill Aunt Carries Kids into Traffic

Shane and Danielle Lambert are suing McLean Hospital for their children’s Massachusetts wrongful deaths. Kaleigh, 5, and Shane, 4, died on January 11, 2008, when their aunt, Marcelle Thibault, carried them onto Interstate 495 where the three of them were fatally struck by two motor vehicles.

Thibault, who is Danielle’s identical twin, was mentally ill. She had received treatment for her condition at McLean Hospital. Psychiatrists at the Harvard-affiliated psychiatric facility had diagnosed the 39-year-old with bipolar disorder in 2007. After discharging her from the Belmont hospital they recommended outpatient therapy and prescribed psychotropic drugs. However, the Lamberts claim that McLean’s doctors failed to warn them that Marcelle might be a danger to herself and those close to her.

On the night of the tragic incident, four months after she was discharged from the mental hospital, Thibault arrived at the Lamberts home to pick up the kids for a sleepover. Earlier in the evening, Massachusetts State Police almost detained her for a psychiatric evaluation. She reportedly was behaving strangely on an I-495 median and she even hit a motorist who tried to help her.

Thibault took her nephew and niece back to the median where she stopped her vehicle, parking it in the wrong direction. She took off the kids’ clothing, as well as her own clothes, and ran with them into oncoming traffic. A week after her death, the Middlesex district attorney’s office ruled the Lowell pedestrian accident a murder-suicide.

Other defendants in the Massachusetts wrongful death lawsuit are Katryn Healy, a licensed social worker, and psychiatrists Dr. Mia D. Pfleging and Dr. Matthew E. Bernstein.

A party does not have been the direct cause of Massachusetts wrongful death in ordered to be named as a defendant. A defendant can be held liable if their allegedly negligent actions contributed to causing the death.

Parents’ suit blames hospital in children’s Lowell I-495 deaths, January 27, 2010
Lawsuit faults McLean in death of 2 innocents, Boston.com, January 26, 2010
Related Web Resources:
Wrongful death, the General Laws of Massachusetts
McLean Hospital