Afroza Chowdhury was taken to the Contra Costa County hospital for a mental checkup by the police after she told them that her ex-husband was threatening to kill her.
Later, the hospital staff released her and sent her on a cab at 3:30 A.M. that was headed toward her ex-husband’s house, but Chowdhury never made it, jumping out of the cab to her death on the California 4 highway instead, the Mercury News reports.
— ⚡Ofra Ziv⚡ (@Iconjurer) March 5, 2016
Chowdhury’s son has filed legal claims against the Antioch police and the hospital.
“I have a sister who lives back in Bangladesh, and obviously they’re asking me, ‘What kind of hospital releases a 60-year-old woman in the middle of the night?’ ” he told Mercury News. “If I knew she was at the hospital — 100 percent — me and my wife would have come and picked her up.”
The hospital has been criticized for its policy of handling mental health patients by advocacy groups, who point out that Chowdhury’s death wasn’t an isolated incident. A few weeks after Chowdhury’s death, the same hospital released a mental health patient who stabbed a 9 year old to death a few hours after he was sent home on a cab.
In defense, the hospital brought up doctors’ notes that showed that Chowdhury repeatedly denied that she had any intention of suicide, and also said that it was hospital policy to try and contact family members if the patient provides contact information.
Chowdhury’s ex-husband was detained and questioned by the police on the same night of her death, but was released a few hours later.