Jury: Hospital did not cause teen’s death

FOX UNDERCOVER - A verdict was reached in a case FOX Undercover has followed closely since 2007.

A teenager dies at a psychiatric hospital in Westwood, and the girl's mother believes staffers were to blame, but the jury in Essex Superior Court in Lawrence disagreed.

Jurors reached their verdict Tuesday afternoon, after two days of deliberations, the culmination of a two-week trial.

While they did find some negligence, they decided Westwood Lodge and four of its nurses did not cause the death of 14-year-old Monique Payne.

Payne died in 2006 after her untreated brain tumor swelled. She had been complaining for days about headaches, but 911 was only called after she "stopped breathing and turned blue."

The attorney hired by the mother of Monique Payne said the case still managed to highlight problems at Westwood Lodge.

"Clearly the jury didn't condone what's going on at Westwood Lodge," said attorney Ben Novotny. "And I guess the thing you can take out of this is they found that three people were negligent, that they don't provide good care, and thanks to people like Theresa who bring these things to light and don't just sweep it under the rug, it was exposed."

Monique's mother Theresa hopes the case raises awareness about problems with mental health treatment facilities.

"There's no winners here. There's a 14-year-old child that is deceased that I had to bury," said Payne. "Hopefully it will make a change in the mental health system for the children, as well as the adults."

The hospital's attorney declined to talk on camera, but did offer his condolences to the Payne family.