Family Files Lawsuit Against ARH

By: Marie Luby Email
By: Marie Luby Email

Two Eastern Kentucky parents are suing Appalachian Regional Healthcare because they say the loss of their son is a result of negligence.

ARH officials are saying they did everything they could for James Scott Johnson and they can't be held responsible for his suicide.

Joan Johnson says her schizophrenic son, Scott, shot and killed himself less than four hours after his release from the Hazard ARH Psychiatric Unit. She was there when it happened.

"All I could do was sit and holler, 'Help, Help!, for somebody to come and help me and there was no one there. I watched my baby die," Johnson said.

Now the Johnson's are suing ARH. The lawsuit says Scott Johnson "clearly informed the doctor and others at ARH that if released, he would take his own life". Mother and father were informed by the doctor that Scott's "funds had run out" and that he would be released."

"I feel that they really killed my baby," Arnold Johnson said.

An ARH spokesperson says workers would never stop treating a patient because of inability to pay.

"We deny that. That did not happen," said Rick King, with ARH Legal Affairs.

He also denies the Johnson's claims that their son's doctor was negligent saying doctors would not have released Scott Johnson if they felt he was a danger to himself.

"Our hearts go out to the Johnson family. Our prayers are with them. This is a terrible thing that happened, but we do maintain that we did our best," King said.

The Johnson's wear Scott's picture every day. They say nothing can heal their pain.

The Johnson's are seeking eight million dollars in damages.

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