|Updated: 5/15/2012 9:02 pm
||Published: 5/15/2012 8:59 pm
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a judge's decision to dismiss federal claims filed by the family of a woman who killed herself at the Arkansas State Hospital.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with a district judge who dismissed the federal claims of Brenda Shelton's relatives.
The family sued the Arkansas Department of Human Services and a number of people who work at the hospital after Shelton hanged herself in a room there in 2008. The lawsuit alleges that there were shortcomings in how medical professionals responded.
Shelton was alive when nurses found her, but her family said nurses refused to administer CPR because protective shields weren't available.
Shelton had voluntarily admitted herself to the state hospital and a doctor immediately put her on suicide watch. She was taken off suicide watch at that same doctor's instruction and hanged herself three days later.
A federal district court judge previously dismissed the federal claims and dismissed state claims without prejudice. The federal appeals court affirmed those decisions in its opinion Tuesday and shot down a claim that Shelton was placed in an inappropriate facility.
"As a voluntary patient at the Arkansas State Hospital, Brenda was not 'placed' - properly or improperly - by any of the named defendants other than, arguably, (the doctor), who initially prescribed suicide watch and later made the medical decision to remove Brenda from suicide watch," the federal appeals court wrote.
One of the attorneys for Shelton's estate, Gregory Ferguson, said he's disappointed with the appeals court decision and plans to meet with his clients to decide what to do next.
An attorney for the Arkansas Department of Human Services didn't immediately return a phone call.
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