Table 3

R&S Cases Reflecting the Importance of Staff Training

CaseRelevant Findings
Andrews v. Neer, 253 F.3d 1052 (8th Cir. 2001)52The Eighth Circuit held that the plaintiff's excessive-force claim should be reviewed under the objective-reasonableness standard for cases involving pretrial detainees. “The Eighth Amendment excessive-force standard provides too little protection to a person whom the state is not allowed to punish” (Ref. 52, p 1061). Hospital security aides had used excessive force in restraining a patient, resulting in his death due to airway compression during the takedown. The patient, agitated, backed into a corner and swung a book at those who approached. Security aides responded, but “one of the last aides to arrive at the scene testified that so many aides surrounded [the patient] that [he] could not see him” (Ref. 52, p 1056).
New York v. Simon, 157 A.D.2d 508 549 N.Y.S.2d 701 (N.Y. App. Div. 1 Dept, 1990)57The court upheld the jury's verdict against a nurse for second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in a restraint-related death of a psychiatric patient. The patient had undergone a tracheotomy and was grabbing at the tracheotomy wound (acutely agitated). She asked to see a doctor, citing difficulty breathing, and vomiting blood, but the nurse allegedly threatened her with violence if she (the patient) caused further trouble. The patient then engaged in disruptive behavior and was placed in a straitjacket with her feet tied to the bed and was given a sedative injection. During a check, the patient's condition was found to be critical. Code blue was called, but resuscitation failed. An autopsy found numerous R&S-related injuries; cause of death was asphyxiation by mechanical compression. The court commented: “[W]hile [the patient] was certainly agitated … she was not posing any physical threat to others present. Instead, [her] erratic behavior appears to have irritated the hospital staff rather than to have posed a threat, and defendant's violent reaction was an unwarranted response to what can essentially be characterized as annoying behavior” (Ref. 57, p 513).
Unpublished case (parties settled), reported by Grant50A 32-year-old female patient died of asphyxiation while physically restrained face down by several guards and security personnel who had not been properly trained in the safe application of restraint.