A wrongful death lawsuit filed by the estate of a woman who took her own life while she was an inmate at the Barnstable County Correctional Facility can move forward. That was the ruling of a medical malpractice tribunal last week.
In 2017, Jessica DiCesare, a mother of two from Centerville, hanged herself while awaiting a hearing in Falmouth District Court. Ms. DiCesare was charged with receiving stolen property, driving without insurance and without a license, and possession of Class C and E drugs.
In its ruling, the tribunal decided there was enough evidence that legitimate questions could be raised over the liability of Correction Psychiatric Services, the company that was hired to handle mental health cases at the jail.
The wrongful death and negligence claim was filed against Correction Psychiatric Services, its president and owner Jorge Veliz, mental health counselor Kiri Jarvis and registered nurse Irene McCormack. The lawsuit claimed that warning signs of Ms. DiCesare’s mental health issues were ignored.
According to the lawsuit, Ms. DiCesare was undergoing detoxification after two years of using opioids when she arrived at the jail in June 2017. Correctional Psychiatric Services noted her past opioid use and her required detoxification.
The company also documented that she was diagnosed as bipolar, suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder and had been hospitalized in a Westfield psychiatric unit in 2015. It was also documented that she was taking Suboxone, clonazepam, gabapentin, Prozac and Adderall for her psychiatric conditions, according to the lawsuit.
Two of her medications were discontinued without explanation and not replaced. The lawsuit stated she appeared pale and dehydrated. Ms. DiCesare told officials she was dizzy, nauseous and kept hitting her head when she was trying to stand.
On July 7, 2017, she gave a written note to a Correctional Psychiatric Services mental health clinician asking for urgent mental healthcare. There was no immediate response to Ms. DiCesare’s request, and she was found hanging in her cell the next morning, according to the lawsuit.
A continuation date for Ms. DiCesare’s case has not yet been set.