Woman's Suicide Spurs Claim Against East Bay City, Hospital

The son of a San Francisco Bay Area woman who committed suicide after being released from the hospital has filed a claim against the city of Antioch and the hospital that treated her.

It's the first step toward a lawsuit and comes about a year after the April 2015 death of Afroza Chowdhury, who was brought to the Contra Costa County's Regional Medical Center in Martinez for a psychological evaluation. 

According to an Antioch police report, Chowdhury was cleared and put in a cab to go home — a place where she did not want to return. 

She never made it. Authorities said Chowdhury jumped to her death from a rolling taxi along Highway 4.

Police were earlier called to Chowdhury's home after she got into an argument with her ex-husband.

Her son, Tony Ahmed, said he had asked the responding officers to call him with updates. Worried but satisfied police had the situation under control, Ahmed stayed home.

The next thing he knew his father called him sobbing, telling him his mother was dead, according to Ahmed.

"I don't know how a hospital can release a patient without calling me, my dad or the cops," he said.

Kathleen Krenic, a domestic violence advocate, said the incident could have been prevented.

"To put her out in the same area that was dangerous to her to being with in my eyes is negligence," Krenic said.

Kristine Girard, chief psychiatrist at Contra Costa County's Regional Medical Center, said hospital officials were unable to speak to details of the case, citing patient confidentiality.

In general, however, efforts are made to contact family or a therapist when a person is on a psychiatric hold, Girard explained.

"All they have to do is call somebody," Ahmed said. "If they had called the right person, today my mom would be alive. Simple as that."

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