The family of Army Sergeant Elder Fernandes from Brockton, Massachusetts, filed a $25 million medical malpractice suit against the U.S. Army for allegedly discharging the soldier without a treatment plan days after he expressed suicidal thoughts.
The Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center in Fort Hood, Texas, left Sgt. Fernandes “on a street in Killeen, Texas to fend for himself” when they released him Aug. 17, 2020, the family’s claim letter stated, The Boston Globe reported Sunday.
“As a result, Sgt. Fernandes died in despair, alone, and unsupported by the United States Army that he was serving,” the letter continued, according to the outlet. Fernandes was allegedly admitted to the medical center with suicidal thoughts.
Fernandes’ body was found hanging from a tree Aug. 25, 2020, 30 miles away from the military base, The Globe reported. “His body was found in such a horrible state that an open casket funeral was not possible,” the family’s letter stated, according to Boston25 News.
The family claimed Fernandes would still be alive had the hospital not discharged him, or had they given him a treatment plan upon discharge, according to The Boston Globe. (RELATED: School Shutdowns Hurt Army Recruitment And Created A National Security Risk. Here’s How)
— Boston.com (@BostonDotCom) September 26, 2022
Fernandes’ family alleged he had sought help in regards to harassment from his fellow soldiers. The harassment arose after Fernandes reported a sexual harassment incident, according to Boston25. When Fernandes did not show up for duty the day following his release, Darnell Medical Center did “little or nothing to search for him” until Fernandes’ mother showed up and demanded a search begin, the family claimed in the letter.
“Not a day goes by that I do not miss my wonderful son, Elder,” Fernandes’ mother, Ailina, told The Globe.
“We remain saddened by the loss of Sgt. Elder Fernandes and for his family,” U.S. Army spokesperson Sergeant First Class Anthony Hewitt told The Globe via email, adding the U.S. Army Claims Service is investigating the family’s claim.