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Hospital denies it treated mother before she killed her son

A Las Vegas psychiatric hospital at the center of a lawsuit over the death of a 6-year-old boy disputes a claim that the child’s mother was treated at the facility.

According to a lawsuit filed this week by the firm Eglet Adams, Gavin Palmer and his mother, 47-year-old Renai Palmer, died in October after she locked the two in an upstairs bedroom of her parents’ home and started a fire.

The lawsuit targeted Spring Mountain Treatment Center, claiming that Renai Palmer had been discharged a week earlier “despite a propensity to harm herself and/or others.”

But after news reports announced the lawsuit, an official with the facility that provides medical services for behavioral and emotional issues at 7000 W. Spring Mountain Road emailed the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“This is a tragic story and our hearts go out to all involved,” the message from Pam Beal, director of business development at the center, stated. “However, Spring Mountain Treatment Center did not admit an individual in 2019 under this name.”

In a phone call, Beal said she could not provide further information and would not say whether a response would be filed in court.

Attorney Robert Adams, a partner at the law firm, issued a statement through a spokesman.

“We based the allegations in the complaint on the information available to us,” Adams said. “We will continue to investigate and if need be correct the allegations.”

The firm filed the suit on behalf of the boy’s father, Sean Murray, who had shared custody of Gavin but had been separated from his mother since the child was a year old.

Renai Palmer had been held on what’s known as a “Legal 2000,” which allows a treatment center or a hospital to legally hold people who present a clear and present danger to themselves or others for a minimum of 72 hours.

After 72 hours, according to state law, the patient can be released only if the individual is no longer a danger. If a patient requires further treatment, the hospital or treatment center can file a petition to extend the legal hold.

In Palmer’s case, the lawsuit alleges, the treatment center “failed to provide appropriate care and treatment to the decedent, Renai Leilani Palmer, by discharging her from treatment despite a propensity to harm herself and/or others.”

Murray previously told the Review-Journal that he was unaware of her mental state when he dropped off his son to the boy’s mother two days before the fire for their usual biweekly custody exchange.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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