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Abuse at Florida Psychiatric Hospital Leads to Mysterious Death


Florida news headlines have been dominated by news of the tragedy of what happened to one man—Reginald Schroat—in a Panhandle psychiatric hospital in the moments before he broke his neck and died. Surveillance videos reportedly captured one staffer shoving Schroat into his room, then two other staffers quickly following. Forty minutes later, the video shows the staffers leaving his room, and you can hear cries for help from Schroat, who said he could no longer move his legs.

Schroat is the second person to die this year under suspicious circumstances while under the care of Florida disability administrators. Still, it is impossible to say what, exactly, happened, especially since all of the agencies linked to any investigation reportedly refuse to provide information. The only information news outlets have been able to obtain was provided by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, but dates regarding Schroat’s injuries and death are still obscure and unclear, making it impossible to form an accurate timeline.

Too Much Delay in Investigation

State law requires that any investigatory probe begin within 24 hours of an abuse report. Still, the Department of Children and Families is currently investigating Schroat’s death, and has confirmed that they commenced the probe on October 28; more than two weeks after he reportedly broke his neck. Meanwhile, reportedly, the employees involved have been put on administrative leave and one has also resigned.

Questionable Timeline & Misinformed Family

There is also the issue of misleading the family: According to reports, Schroat’s mother was not informed that her son had been seriously injured until eight days after the incident. They informed her that he had “slipped and fell in the shower” and “broke his vertebrae.” According what information was ascertained, Schroat had slipped in the shower, but this had happened five days before his neck was broken.

Remaining Questions

Other remaining questions include:

  • why the state hospital waited 22 hours before calling an ambulance after Schroat suffered a broken neck
  • Why did administrators wait seven days before informing the police of what happened?
  • Why did the disability agency wait 16 days to report the incident to the state’s abuse hotline?

Contact Our Florida Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Attorneys

Under no circumstances is this acceptable behavior from any facility, much less one that is linked to a suspicious incident like this one. A facility like this should be “moving heaven and earth” not to make the same mistakes that led to this tragedy. If they do not, they will likely repeat these same mistakes.

If you or a loved one has suffered from abuse at a facility, obtained any injuries from this kind of negligence, or lost a loved one, contact our experienced Florida injury attorneys at Lavalle, Brown & Ronan today to find out how we can help.

For more information and in depth analysis, please contact Attorney Ken Ronan at and Case Manager Richard Bagdasarian at


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