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Family Furious Over Man's Suicide At Jackson Park Hospital

CHICAGO (WBBM) -- Jackson Park Hospital is now at the center of a bizarre and tragic series of events earlier this year involving two incidents with suicidal patients.

As WBBM Newsradio 780's Steve Miller reports, in one incident, the hospital is being sued by the family of a man who hanged himself in the emergency room at the hospital, 7531 S. Stony Island Ave. -- in view of video monitors, and yet went unnoticed for almost a quarter of an hour.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780's Steve Miller reports

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It was Jan. 2, the last day of the Bears' regular season, and they lost to the Green Bay Packers.

Gregory Jones, 48, watched the game and drank. His family said he was upset because his brother had just died of a heart attack on Christmas Eve.

Jones was the manager of a convenience store in Harvey, and had just bought a timeshare in Las Vegas. He was a religious man, the father of four, grandfather of three.

But that night, he lost control, and his daughter, Shantae Parker, says the family called police, who took him to the Jackson Park Hospital emergency room.

"He went there because they say he was threatening suicide," Parker said.

Jones was left alone and unrestrained in Observation Room 3, where he was supposed to have been watched constantly, says a federal government report on the incident.

What happened in the next several minutes, says the family's lawyer Robert Wadington, is "beyond the pale."

"One mistake compounded by another, compounded by another, compounded by another, compounded by another," he said.

Wadington says the videotape of Gregory Jones in Observation Room 3 shows a sequence of events someone should have seen on the monitors.

"It looks as if he's praying," Wadington said. "He's on his knees with his hands folded on the side of the bed. He then goes into an adjacent room and comes out with a sheet. He then ties the sheet with a noose to the corner of a door and hangs himself."

A federal report says Jones stood on the bed at 9:07 p.m., and at 9:08 he stepped off the bed to hang himself.

The report says it wasn't until 9:22 p.m. that somebody finally noticed him. Two registration clerks entered the room and exited, and finally, the observation nurse took Jones down from the door.

According to the federal report, the video recording indicated that a medical assistant and an observation nurse - two people - "were not paying attention to the monitor and the monitor was unattended for a period of time."

Parker said she got to the hospital waiting room, and her father's girlfriend told her she didn't know what was going on.

"She said they got him in this room over there. She said, 'I heard some noise.' I said, 'What was the noise?' She said it sounded like a big boom, like somebody fell. 'Did they let him fall on the floor, or something?" Parker said.

Wadington, says Jones' 14-year-old son was also at the hospital when his father was finally cut down from the door.

"(He) heard his father hit the ground, and then saw his father dragged on the floor and left on the floor half-in and half-out of the door to the room where his father had been placed," Wadington said.

Wadington says the 14-year-old had been a healthy kid, but has himself since attempted suicide three times.

On the very same night Jones committed suicide, a federal report says another patient, also suicidal and awaiting a psychiatric exam, was supposed to be watched constantly. But the patient escaped.

The report says in the presence of a sitter, the earlier patient was supposed to be going to sleep for the night at 11 p.m.

"The patient pulled the curtain closed and quickly opened the window. The patient slid out the window and landed on his feet. A black car was on the street nearby," the report said, "Patient got into the car and it took off quickly... Sitter grabbed the patient's arm but unable to hang on."

The federal government says Jackson Park Hospital is now back in compliance with federal regulations.

A representative of the hospital declined to comment for this report.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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