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Teen's Death at Westwood Lodge Goes to Trial

At issue is whether the staff acted appropriately preceding the 2006 death of a teenage girl.

Jury selection begins today for a trial focusing on the 2006 death of a teenager at a psychiatric care center in Westwood 

Monique Payne was 14 when she died while a resident at Westwood Lodge, a psychiatric hospital in town.

Payne died of complications from an untreated brain tumor. Her mother, Theresa Payne, told Fox 25 that understaffing at the facility is to blame.

"There is no reason for her to be dead now. Whatsoever. Especially at the age of 14. It's not right," Theresa Payne told FOX Undercover in 2007. "Her life is gone. For no reason."

Monique complained for four days about headaches. According to Fox, when 911 was called, it was too late. The tumor was an inactive one Monique had for years.

"They ignored all her cries. She was asking and telling them my head is killing me. I need to go to the doctors," her mother told Fox.

The trial to decide if Westwood Lodge staff acted promptly enough starts today with jury selection at Essex Superior Court.

C.Jean May 16, 2013 at 08:16 PM
my boyfriend and father of our unborn child has been here a time before and is here at this very moment he cried that he didnt want to go back because he didnt want to be"drugged up"all the time and the staff at his last visit held him down kicking and screaming while they stuck needles in him.I told a friend where he was and she had nothing good to say.As she said they over medicate and dont treat the isssues or problems..I feal very helpless and reading these comments make me want him out of there.Its so sad thats theres really nothing i can do i dont think because his parents are the ones that had him sectioned there in the 1st place..He wants me too visit him there but dont want to see him as he called it in a "drugged up"state
Michelle Colon May 17, 2013 at 11:13 AM
My name is Michelle colon. I was there when i was 15. I'm am now 34. For the 3 months i was there, the tortured me, stuck needles in my butt which are called i.m.'s. They wrapped me in a long green cloth with boards and straps. I was a human burrito. The staff would step on my back in order to pull the straps as tight as possible. I couldn't feel my fingers and sometimes had to urinate myself. They deprived me of food. They kept me in my room for days at a time. Solitary confinement. Only because"i was too close to my peers". Apparently feeling love and joy was not allowed. I went there due to depression, anxiety,adhd and left with nerve damage,ptsd, claustrophobia and social phobia. I feel empowered that i am finally able to tell someone the nightmare i lived in while at Westwood. I'm still haunted by the memories.
hayley russell May 29, 2013 at 08:04 PM
I have been to west wood lodge as adolesent partial outpaitient and let me tell you how awful the workers are im serious they dont listen and they treat you unfair and my case manager kory was terible she was so mean and she made me do things i didnt want to do. (DONT GO TO WESTWOOD LODGE!)
Ramona B July 17, 2013 at 04:33 PM
One thing that is important to point out: Westwood Lodge is not a "hospital" in the sense that one can go there specifically for medical and psychiatric treatment over a long period of time. The Arbour Fuller system, and specifically WWL are effectively "safe houses" where individuals are sent after expressing that they currently present a danger to themselves or others. Whether this is in the fort of verbal threats, dangerous or abnormal behavior that puts the individual or others at risk, self injurious behavior, or behavior otherwise indiciative of a psychiatric condition. This hospital serves the exact purpose of keeping individuals safe until a) they are stabilized on their medications and their treatment team & families feel they are ready to go home, b) a spot opens up for them in a state hospital or long term care facility, or c) they sign a 3 day at which point the hospital must release them. My whole point in writing this is not to disagree with all of you- I am very saddened to hear of the terrible treatment you had received at Westwood Lodge and hope their standards have improved. I just wanted to point out that the only reason people are sent there is because someone, either the individual or his/her family, asked that they be placed there. Their only job is to keep you safe until you can work together to develop a plan for discharge. Again, don't expect to go to WWL and have an MD, personal psychiatrist and Case Manager on call for you at a moments notice. You are sent there because you are at risk to yourself or others, and they work to keep you safe until you are ready to leave. And while everyone deserves proper medical treatment and respect from their providers, just please don't think of WWL as anything that it isn't.
JimmyB August 23, 2013 at 01:24 PM
The last comment is absolutely correct. Westwood Lodge is really a temporary facility that is not really designed for long term care. It is an in-between place where patients are supposed to stay for a short period of time (a few days to a few weeks at most). Having worked there I can say that it is a terrible place to go as a patient and to work as staff. You are much better off going to the psych ward in a regular hospital - it would be much more quiet and therapeutic. The problem is the nurses who are supposed to be running things aren't trained to run groups and handle the "psychiatric" part of the job. In my experience they just sat behind closed doors and handed out meds. And they did "evaluations" of patients that were mainly based on case files. This left the running of everyday shifts to the "MHAs" (mental health associates) - of which I was one - who often are part-time people, college students, etc. who also don't really have any group training. Also a big part of the problem as people have mentioned is understaffing, which comes from the business side. You are only allowed per management a small staff per patient ratio which is strictly followed. In the staff's defense the layout of the hospital is horrible. The behavioral adolescent unit where I worked had a capacity if 23 patients - the rooms were in two small hallways with an open area separating them. Imagine a small hotel hallway with just a little bit of "community" space with locked doors with this many people. And probably 25% of the kids had behavioral problems and "acted out" in some manner. It needs to be redesigned with smaller units (holding 7-8 patients at most). This would eliminate many of the problems of the place. Bad place to be.

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