The family of a man who died after wandering away from his caregivers on the grounds of the Sierra Tucson Rehabilitation Center near Tucson, Arizona has sued the facility for the man’s wrongful death. Sierra Tucson is considered an upscale, high class service rehab center.
Dr. Ken Litwack, who was 71 years old, was observed to have had suicidal thoughts by facility staff the day before he was found to be missing. He had expressed thoughts of extreme depression, claiming he felt out of place because he was so much older than anyone else at the facility.
According to his records, he was suffering from anxiety and depression when he checked himself into the center on August 12th of last year. According to reports, he was found dead on the grounds of the center on August 30th, a full two weeks after he was reported missing by the facility.
His body was found in an area near the stables, slightly off the most routinely traveled paths and areas of the facility, but definitively within facility grounds. The body was already so badly decomposed that coroners were unable to determine a cause of death for Litwack.
The lawsuit is alleging facility staff negligence as the primary factor leading up to the incident. According to family representatives, “a drive toward improving profitability at the expense of patient care and safety caused Dr. Litwack’s death.”
For their part, Sierra Tucson Rehabilitation Center intends to defend itself against all such allegations. According to the acting executive director, John Poloquin, “Sierra Tucson continues to be an industry leader in the treatment of addictions and behavioral disorders, has helped over 25,000 individuals over the course of our 28-year history, and maintains some of the highest clinical staffing ratios in this industry. We remain committed to providing high-quality client care at our voluntary treatment facility.”