WATCH ABOVE: Prashant Tiwari committed suicide last June. His family alleges he was unsupervised for three hours despite being under suicide watch. Marianne Dimain reports.
TORONTO — The family of a man who committed suicide while in the care of Brampton Civic Hospital are renewing their call for an inquest into Prashant Tiwari’s death.
The family held a news conference Friday to announce new developments in the case. The family alleges hospital staff left Prashant, who was on suicide watch, alone for nearly three hours as they had a potluck meal. Prashant was supposed to be checked on every 15 minutes.
Earlier this year the family launched a $12.5 million lawsuit against the hospital for wrongful death and breach of privacy. At the time the family claimed multiple hospital staff looked through Prashant’s files when not authorized to do so.
Now the family wants to explore charges of criminal negligence causing death.
“When I came to know about it I was shocked, I’m still in shock,” said Rakesh Tiwari, Prashant’s father. “This question was always going in my mind. How come three hours no one was able to look at Prashant?”
Prashant, 20, had been under suicide watch in the psychiatric unit last June for ten days when he hung himself in a washroom.
In February, Rakesh told Global News Prashant had asked his family to get him help, and said the family entrusted the hospital with his son’s life.
Months later the family still grieves, and wants answers.
“Its pretty devastating for us. Every day we miss him,” said Rakesh.
Last month the coroner denied a request for an inquest into Prashant’s death. The family has applied for a judicial review hoping the Superiour Court of Justice will allow one.
“The coroner felt that the death of Prashant had been investigated adequately. And our view is just totally contrary to that,” said lawyer Michael Smitiuch. “We think that it hasn’t been totally investigated, and that secondly there are systemic problems across the province that would definitely be helped from having an inquest.”
Between 1996 and 2006 there were eight inquests into suicide deaths within psychiatric facilities, according to Ontario’s chief coroner.
In a statement to Global News, the William Osler Health System, which oversees the hospital, said it had “not received the revised notice of legal action from the family; when we receive it we will respond through the appropriate legal process.”
It goes on to express condolences for the family’s loss, stating it’s “an extremely tragic situation for family, friends and the entire Osler community.”
The statement goes on to say it cannot comment on individual cases, but it does state staff adequately cover their duties at all times.
“Osler has processes in place to ensure that there is always appropriate staff coverage in patient care areas regardless of any activity that may be happening at the hospital.”
The family’s claims have not been proven in court.
-With files from Marianne Dimain