Two Santa Fe mental health professionals are being sued by the mother of a 24-year-old man who committed suicide two years ago.
Caroline Ravenfox, as personal representative of the estate of her late son Dylan Ravenfox, last week filed a wrongful death suit alleging negligence by Robert Weisz, a licensed psychologist with the Brainspotting and Hypnotherapy Clinic and the Milton Erickson Institute of New Mexico, and Dr. George Greer, a psychiatrist.
Calls and emails to Weisz and to Greer’s office seeking comment on the suit were not returned.
The lawsuit in state District Court states that Dylan Ravenfox first sought counseling and therapy from Greer on July 2, 2010, for depression and suicidal ideation.
Greer prescribed the antidepressant Lexapro and after another visit a week later, the medication Abilify, used along with antidepressants for treatment of schizophrenia, autism and bipolar disorder. Later in the same month, on July 23, Greer upped the amount of Ravenfox’s Lexapro prescription, the suit says, at a time when Dylan had “thoughts of jumping off a bridge.”
“Despite clear signs” that Dylan “was depressed and having thoughts of committing suicide,” Greer scheduled his next appointment for more than three weeks later, on Aug. 19, and Greer assessed Dylan as much improved, the suit says.
“A reasonably prudent psychiatrist under similar circumstances would have scheduled an appointment” within a week, the suit maintains.
It alleges that “as a result of Defendant Greer’s medical negligence, Dylan Ravenfox took his life” by hanging on Aug. 7, 2010, at age 24.
Ravenfox also saw Weisz five times from July 12 through Aug. 3, 2010. On Aug. 4, Caroline Ravenfox told Weisz her son had placed a belt around his neck on one occasion and Weisz told her he had no idea Dylan was suicidal, the suit says. “Despite this, Defendant Weisz did not act to intervene or treat Dylan Ravenfox,” the suit alleges.
Caroline Ravenfox also told Weisz she was afraid for her son’s life, but Weisz refused to see Dylan “within a reasonable time, despite clear notice that he was rapidly deteriorating,” according to the lawsuit.
The suit argues that Weisz missed or ignored signs that Dylan was becoming increasingly more depressed and needed additional treatment. Weisz failed to take reasonable steps or make appropriate referrals to protect Dylan and “as a result of the breach of duty,” Dylan committed suicide, the suit maintains.
The lawsuit seeks damages, including compensatory damages.