Beaver County family files suit over Friendship Ridge death
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A family is suing Beaver County, a private company and several nurses and other personnel over a death at the Friendship Ridge residence facility in a case that was removed today to U.S. District Court.
Lance A. Yocum, then 40, of Brighton Township, was involuntarily committed to Friendship Ridge in Beaver on April 29, 2011, and died the next day, according to the complaint originally filed in Beaver County Court of Common Pleas in April.
Mr. Yocum was charged three weeks earlier with disorderly conduct and unreasonable noise, according to court records. He is described in the complaint as "severely mentally disabled" and a sufferer of sleep apnea.
Friendship Ridge staff did not allow Mr. Yocum to use a device he needed to control the apnea, according to the complaint. Staff gave him medications meant for another resident, and then gave him his own medications on top of that, it said.
Emergency medical personnel were not called after the error was detected, it said. The medications eventually stopped his breathing, it said.
The lawsuit said the county, a private contractor and the employees were responsible for the wrongful death of Mr. Yocum and that staff were not properly trained or supervised. It demanded compensation.
An attorney for the employees transferred the case to federal court because it alleges civil rights violations.
Beaver County's solicitor could not be reached for immediate comment.
First Published October 22, 2012 5:09 pm