Tripler agrees to pay $800K for Air Force vet's suicide - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Tripler agrees to pay $800K for Air Force vet's suicide

Rick Fried Rick Fried
Satsuki Roth Satsuki Roth

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - An Aiea family that accused Tripler Army Medical Center of failing to provide proper treatment for a loved one will be paid $800,000 for its suffering.

The family hopes the hospital is changing the way it deals with suicidal military vets.

Posing for a picture with his wife and son, Robert Roth manages a bright smile. But for most of his adult life, the 20-year Air Force veteran battled depression.

"Each day could be different, you know, like he'll be happy one day and the next day he's just not, doesn't really want to do anything," Will Roth, son, said.

The family's attorney says about every seven years, Roth would have to stay in a hospital for a few days because his medications would lose some of their effectiveness.

In December 2006, he went to Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, where he held a civilian position, and pleaded for help.

"He was there a total of over eight hours over two days and was never seen," Rick Fried, Roth family attorney, said. "The staffing was horribly inappropriate."

On January 2, 2007, the 50-year-old followed through on his threats to kill himself.

"At this point, his medications were not working. He was extremely frustrated," Fried said. "And he did exactly what he said he was going to do a few days earlier, went to the top of Tripler and jumped 119 feet and died."

For his wife, it was a complete shock.

"I thought he went to see doctor, but he couldn't," Satsuki Roth, wife, said. "I got the phone call from Tripler and then 'Come to Tripler.'"

With a civil trial set to begin this month, the two sides reach an $800,000 settlement.

Fried says Tripler now has written protocols on how to deal with suicidal patients who come to the emergency room.

"I hope they going to change," Satsuki Roth said. "I believe my husband, Robert, he hope they change. He's hoping from Heaven."

The Commanding General at Tripler Army Medical Center released this statement saying: Our thoughts and sympathy go out to the roth family. Our command and well-trained staff are committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure an incident similar to this never happens again.

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