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Mother of teen who died sues Unity Center for $13M

January 26, 2021 GMT

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The mother of a Portland teen who died by suicide shortly after medical staff allegedly evaluated and released him from the Unity Center for Behavioral Health has filed a $13 million lawsuit.

Leila Mesch’s lawsuit lists Legacy Health and Oregon Health & Science University as defendants, alleging that as two of the organizations that operate the center, they are negligent for the death of 18-year-old Jacob Mesch.

Legacy Health spokesman Brian Terrett declined comment because of the pending litigation, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. OHSU spokeswoman Tamara Hargens-Bradley also declined comment, citing patient privacy laws.

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“We are a community of healers and the passing of a patient is distressing to us all,” she wrote in an email.

According to the lawsuit, Leila Mesch discovered her son was planning to jump from the Fremont Bridge on Sept. 2, 2019, and convinced him to let her drive him to the Unity Center.

A doctor determined he was an imminent risk to himself, the suit said. Jacob Mesch told staff he had been thinking about suicide and experiencing increasing depression, and that he’d recently broken up with a girlfriend, according to the suit.

The suit says after another doctor evaluated Mesch and the teen agreed to out-patient therapy, Unity discharged him about 10 hours after he’d been admitted. He killed himself two days later.

The suit was filed last week in Multnomah County Circuit Court.